Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Friends Bailed on My Dinner Party”

From the forums:

You are definitely Late

My boyfriend and I had made plans to have three couples — his college friends and their girlfriends — over for a small dinner party on Halloween and to greet the trick-or-treaters. To prepare, I spent the better part of the day cooking and cleaning, and I was feeling very festive. Come 6:30 PM, only one of the couples had arrived, so we texted the other two to get an ETA. They both responded that they weren’t going to make it. I was so upset! It wasn’t as if this was a huge party; it was a small dinner party, and on top of that I had emailed everyone the day before to confirm details and say how excited we were to see everyone. If we had not reached out to them the night of the party, we could have been waiting for hours, since clearly they never planned to inform us they weren’t coming.

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.

***************

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

125 comments… add one
  • Fabelle

    Fabelle November 4, 2013, 9:52 am

    Okay, I’m glad Wendy answered this because I also thought people were giving advice (in the forum) that was a bit extreme? Sooo WWS, & good point on the last part (that hopefully she wasn’t stewing so much that she forgot to be a good hostess to the couple that DID show up)

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  • GatorGirl

    GatorGirl November 4, 2013, 10:01 am

    I like your advice Wendy. Much more level headed.

    I will say, it is incredibly rude to show up super late or not at all with out letting the host know. So, call if you’re late/not coming!!!

    Also, someone else said in the forums, but saying “come by after 5!” leaves a lot of wiggle room for arrivals etc, so I think it’s better to say “dinner at 6:30” or something along those lines, super clear.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary November 4, 2013, 10:06 am

      I’m also curious about the dinner invite. Was it “we’ll have dinners while the tricker treaters come by” (which could be interpreted as lets eat pizza and drink beer) or was it “You’re invited to a dinner party at my house on Halloween night.” Because If I thought we were all just casually eating dinner/take out/appetizers I could see people bailing last minute cause they felt lazy after work.

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      • avatar

        Bunnycsp November 4, 2013, 10:15 am

        I agree with this. I feel like people down play things that are important. For example, we have these “football parties” on Sunday where people come, there are apps. It is no big deal. Other times, we have things that need a head count. I make people know that I need a head count because I am cooking up a storm or I say that this is a sit down dinner party. I realized a while ago that I need to be forthright when something is important to me.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl November 4, 2013, 10:23 am

        Yes, that’s pretty much what I was trying to say but I got like zero sleep last night. For Labor Day we hosted a casual “come hang out at our pool, oh there will be some food” party- totally appropriate to cancel at the last minute. Like I said in the forum, we cohosted Canadian Thanksgiving and arranged for extra tables/bought a turkey of a specific size/cooked a TON- not really cool to cancel the day of with out a legit reason.

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  • avatar

    kerrycontrary November 4, 2013, 10:03 am

    WWS! I think what they did was rude (and I hate flaky people so I totally get it) but I think you might be overreacting…just a little. I know it’s hard because this JUST happened but take some time to calm down. In the grand scheme of life this situation is small potatoes. If it’s repeat behavior, then yes I would cut them out of your life. I’ve actually cut a few people out of my life lately because they are un-reliable, so I understand doing that. But a one time thing? Not worth it.

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  • avatar

    Bethany November 4, 2013, 10:05 am

    I didn’t see the forum post, so I’m not sure what was said there, but I agree that you’re being a tad dramatic. Do WWS. Shit happens, and sometime people bail. It’s going to happen more and more as your friends start getting married and having kids. Sometime you might even have to do it! Give them a break this time, and maybe the next time you invite them over, do it in a more casual/drop by setting, so if they bail its not as big of a deal.

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    • avatar

      rieux November 4, 2013, 10:26 am

      Love that Wendy always thinks of things in such a reasonable, mature way. I didn’t post on the forum thread, but I had assumed, because I know SO many people who do this, that the guests who bailed were just thoughtless and decided they had something better to do that night — and I would have been as pissed as the forum poster. But you’re right — when a friend seems to have messed up, you should give them the chance to explain (and, if they don’t have a good explanation, try to forgive them) before going nuclear on them.

      Still, flaking even once on someone because you just don’t feel like doing what you said you were going to do, if you’re not sick or stuck at work or in the middle of a family emergency, is inexcusable in my book. When people flake on something they’ve agreed to do, even if they think it’s just “casual” dinner at someone’s house, they’re a) breaking their word, which, keeping your word is like Doing The Right Thing 101, and b) treating the other person like their time and commitment means less than their own. It’s super not cool. I wouldn’t cut a friend out for doing it, because I’m not much for cutting friends out, but I would think very differently of them if it kept happening.

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      • avatar

        rieux November 4, 2013, 10:27 am

        @bethany, not totally sure how my comment ended up as a reply to you, sorry… meant for it to be its own thread 🙂

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      • avatar

        Christy November 4, 2013, 10:41 am

        I was thinking about starting a thread about this idea, too, rieux. I have a lot of introvert friends, and so if we have plans to go out and one of us just doesn’t feel like it, we’ll bail, saying that we’ve had a busy week and just want to chill out at home. And we don’t blame each other, because who wants to hang out with someone who’d rather be alone?

        I was trying to think of times it’s acceptable to flake. Here’s when I think it’s ok to flake: when it’s my bff (because she knows I love spending time with her and I’ll likely be a pain in the ass if we do hang out), when it’s my introvert friends from library school (because we all do it – we’re all very comfortable saying “Actually, can we do this another time? I’d really prefer to just stay in today.”), when it’s a facebook invite (which is actually kind of unfair of me.)

        To go into further detail about the facebook invite thing: I think when it’s a mass invite, like an evite or a mass email or a facebook invite, it’s ok to flake. If there’s no personal contact between the host and the guests, then it’s ok to bail. I’m not sure if that’s like a personal thing, though.

        I definitely don’t think the friends should have flaked without notice, but if they didn’t know the scale of the party, and they didn’t know the formality of the party, then I can definitely see it. I’ve certainly bailed on football parties before, but I do try to at least text.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl November 4, 2013, 10:57 am

        IDK about FB. I think the event being invited to matters a lot. We used FB to invite for the Canadian Thanksgiving we co-hosted, because it was the quickest, easiest, most sure fire way to contact a varied friend group. That was a mildly “formal” event and it did annoy me that some flaked out the day of (with no notice). Sometimes FB is just the best way to contact people.

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      • avatar

        starpattern November 4, 2013, 11:26 am

        I agree. There is a difference between getting a FB invite for a 15-person event and one that is a mass invite for a BYOB potluck or something. I agree with Christy that it’s not that big a deal for a potluck or whatever that has a gazillion people on the invite list, but if it’s a smaller gathering or one that is actually hosted (people buying/making food according to the number of people coming) it is important to RSVP and not flake. Honestly I started using Facebook for a lot of the gatherings I do after one time I invited my friend’s fiance’s ex (who was my coworker at the time) and she was really angry at me about it – FB allows people to see who else I invited, so now if they show up and hate someone else there it’s on them for not checking, haha.

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      • avatar

        rieux November 4, 2013, 11:23 am

        Christy — some really good points. Certainly if both people explicitly understand canceling plans to be a possibility because of introversion or other outside factors I don’t see anything wrong with canceling them. It’s a “keeping your word” thing for me — and if everyone understands that “I’ll be there” means “I’ll be there barring a certain set of circumstances,” then that seems to fall under that heading?

        Seems sort of the same for Facebook. Facebook “yes”es are socially understood to be “maybe”s (and “maybe”s are just wishy-washy “no”s), so I’ve given up on taking those seriously from others, but I personally don’t give a “Yes” unless I’m definitely going to be there, under the heading of having a higher standard for oneself than for others. But like you, I tend to think that if you’ve directly told the host you’re coming, then you have to be there even if it’s a mass invite. Barring what someone below cleverly called “diarrhea-level” reasons haha.

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        BreezyAM November 4, 2013, 10:42 pm

        I actually did finally recently cut off a friend for this. I told her I felt like some ridiculous high school girl constantly chasing after some guy who just is Not That Into her, and I wasn’t going to do it anymore because it made me feel shitty and pathetic. She admitted she was behaving precisely that way, and what it basically boils down to is if she knows someone who knows her in a horrible time of her life, she cuts them off for all intents and purposes because she doesn’t want to be reminded of that time period (I know right?). I was like “so we’re (it’s me and a couple other friends) good enough to slum it with? Is that what you’re saying?” WTFever. But she wants me to know she really does love me, and will always care about me, just I remind her of a time in her life she doesn’t like to think of. I still don’t get how that excuses always cancelling plans last minute, never initiating plans, never putting any effort into getting together, but I’m glad she knew I’d be there to bring over wine and bourbon lemonade when she had her extremely shitty miscarriage a couple months prior. :-/

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    Lily in NYC November 4, 2013, 10:22 am

    I don’t agree with Wendy on this one. It would be one thing if it were a big party, but bailing on a small dinner party is inexcusable to me. I don’t think the nuclear option is the way to go either. But I would never invite these people to a small gathering again, only larger ones. And I’d let them both know I was hurt and annoyed at not only their flakiness, but the fact they didn’t bother to let her know they weren’t coming until she reached out them AFTER the start time. To me, that is the rudest part and I don’t understand why Wendy made a bunch of excuses for them. Selfish, selfish, selfish.

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    • avatar

      FossilChick November 4, 2013, 10:37 am

      I agree that, if they actually flaked and didn’t have a “diarrhea-level” reason for not being there, it’s not acceptable. But these friends sound like they are primarily the LW’s boyfriend’s friends, and thus friends with the LW by association. I think if the LW declares that these people are never invited back, it’s going to cause strain in the LW’s romantic relationship, which doesn’t seem worth it just to stick it to a couple of people who maybe once acted in a jerky fashion.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy November 4, 2013, 10:39 am

      Let’s play “what if”! What if one of the women in one of the couples who bailed experienced a miscarriage two hours before they were supposed to leave for the dinner party. What if it were early in the pregnancy and they hadn’t shared the news with anyone and then she started bleeding at work and came home and realized what was happening. Do you think it’s possible that in her state maybe calling her husband’s friend to cancel on a dinner party — that may or may not have been explicitly defined as formal — could have been the last thing on her mind? It’s a stretch, but it’s possible, and why go nuclear on someone when something like this IS, in fact, a possibility, especially when the couple has zero history of ever flaking in the past?

      Furthermore, as rude and thoughtless as it is to bail last minute on a formal invite, it’s as much — if not more — a breach of etiquette to tell your invited guests how pissed you are by their behavior, especially when you aren’t particularly close to them (they are her boyfriend’s friends) and this is a one-time foul.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy November 4, 2013, 10:42 am

        And that’s just one example. There are lots of other things that could have come up that would make someone momentarily forget about that evening’s plans. I just think that it’s as rude to jump on someone for a last-minute cancelation when that person has never flaked before. Why is that the first response instead of, “Wow, that’s unlike them! I hope everything is ok!” It’s a sad state that a person’s first and lasting inclination is to be pissed rather than concerned.

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      • avatar

        scattol November 4, 2013, 11:59 am

        As as sad that would be isn’t it the Entitled-21st-Century-Reality-TV frame of mind we are in these days?

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      • meadowphoenix

        meadowphoenix November 4, 2013, 2:15 pm

        Why is that the first response instead of, “Wow, that’s unlike them! I hope everything is ok!” It’s a sad state that a person’s first and lasting inclination is to be pissed rather than concerned.

        According to the LW, that wasn’t her first response. Her first response, probably concern, was on the night of the party, when she asked them what was up and they responded that they weren’t coming. Now her response is pissed, because they responded without giving any type of reason.

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      • avatar

        Banana November 4, 2013, 12:36 pm

        I once had to last-minute bail on a friend’s birthday celebration, and I forgot to give notice. The event I was ducking out of wasn’t a formal dinner party, but it was a trip to a pumpkin patch and some other fall-themed activities that this friend had taken care to organize (rides, times, dates, etc) so everyone could make it, and it wasn’t something that one would ordinarily bail on last-minute.

        But that morning, I’d just heard that doctors had found a growth in my dad’s stomach that was very similar to one that had put him in the hospital about seven years ago. The last time was very traumatic. We were still waiting on the results of a biopsy to determine if the growth was in fact something bad, or just a benign lump, but the news really, really shook me up. I just didn’t want to see or hang out with people that day and put a smile on my face and pretend I was okay. I’d manage to do that later, but for that day — the day I’d woken up to a call from my mom from the doctor’s office — I needed some space. My boyfriend said he’d take me out to his cottage (this was back when he lived in a cottage about an hour and a half out of the city) where it could just be the two of us quietly hanging out, walking to the beach, me talking to my mom some more, etc. We were in the car halfway to his place when my friend called, asking me where I was (I was supposed to be carpooling with my roommate — and it was her car, so my absence didn’t deprive the group of a car, thankfully!). That’s when I realized I’d completely forgotten to let her know I couldn’t make it.

        It was probably rude not to think of her right away. But sometimes stuff happens. If you expect someone to be understanding of your needs (for an RSVP, for people not to flake, etc) then you should also be understanding of theirs (emergencies, family obligations that require flexibility, etc). Everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt, especially if that isn’t normal behavior for them. You can’t have a zero-tolerance friendship. Or at least, not for very long.

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        kerrycontrary November 4, 2013, 2:14 pm

        Yeh I honestly forgot to go to a friend’s party the other weekend. Like I legit just forgot, and when she texted me I was like “omg I am SO SORRY”. Now it wasn’t a sit down dinner party, but sometimes people forget. Do I normally bail on her? No. People are human. Shit happens.

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      • avatar

        Lily in NYC November 4, 2013, 5:27 pm

        Sorry, I call BS. I don’t think debates should use the least likely scenario as a “what if”. Then they wouldn’t have replied to OP’s text at all or would have said “sorry, emergency” and then apologized later. Generally, when it looks like a duck, walks like a duck…you know the rest. People have terrible manners today when it comes to actually showing up to places after they’ve already RSVPd yes (if they bother to RSVP at all).

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    • avatar

      Ele4phant November 4, 2013, 12:07 pm

      Personally, I think we all get a few free passes in life. A free pass to fail to met expectations or follow perfect etiquette. If someone has been a standup friend and come through 99 percent of the time, I’m going to let the 1 percent of the time they don’t slide, no questions asked. I don’t care of its due to something serious, like a sudden illness, or it’s just laziness, I’m not going to take one bad incident and weigh it over a hundred good ones and trash the entire friendship. People aren’t perfect, and I’m not going to expect them to be.

      Now if they aren’t typically good well mannered friends, then yes, perhaps the friendships should be downgraded to acquaintances in a larger group, or not friends at all. But a one time slip up isn’t worth punishing someone and ending a friendship over, even if they were 100 percent lazy, ill mannered friends in that one instance.

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  • avatar

    sophronisba November 4, 2013, 10:43 am

    Honestly, the idea of having dinner and sitting around to greet trick-or-treaters sounds about as fun as watching ice cream melt. Are you all in your 50’s? Maybe these folks are just a bit wimpy about confessing that they’d really rather dress up in lingerie and a gorilla suit and go out running around instead of attending a reprise of the Dick Van Dyke show..
    The answer is very simple: these are your boyfriend’s college friends, so he is the one who gets to call them up and say that they’ve made his life with you a living hell.

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    • Lyra

      Lyra November 4, 2013, 12:30 pm

      Honestly, it’s really rude of you to imply that having dinner and greeting trick or treaters is boring. I would find that enjoyable and I’m 25 freaking years old. I’ve never seen the point of dressing up as a slut and going out for Halloween and would much rather talk to adorable kids than get groped by a stranger in a bar. To each their own.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl November 4, 2013, 12:35 pm

        Yup. Totally agree. I wish we lived in a place we would get trick-or-treaters so we could do what was described. To each their own 🙂

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson November 4, 2013, 12:52 pm

        Woah on the S word.

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      • katie

        katie November 4, 2013, 12:58 pm

        Uh, yea, when you say “I’m offended you think x thing is dumb! At least I don’t like *offensive stereotyped words to describe other thing*” it really invalidates whatever point you were trying to get across.

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        AliceInDairyland November 4, 2013, 1:02 pm

        Let me repeat IWTTS. Woah on the s-word.

        What if we combine these together where you dress up like a slut and eat dinner at a friend’s house and greet/get groped by trick or treaters. Everyone wins?

        😉 Too much?

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      • kare

        kare November 4, 2013, 1:18 pm

        @AliceInDairyland count me in! 🙂

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      • Lyra

        Lyra November 4, 2013, 1:42 pm

        Ugh, you’re right…sorry guys, I guess I got a bit snippy…

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      • avatar

        rachel November 4, 2013, 1:05 pm

        Not sure what bars you go to…

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        kerrycontrary November 4, 2013, 2:12 pm

        How does one dress up as a slut? There are so many KINDS of different sluts that it’s just impossible to pick one kind of slut to be for halloween.

        On a serious note, can we ALL stop ripping on any woman who shows skin on halloween? Like seriously. GET OVER IT. If you don’t want to “dress up like a slut” then don’t wear a revealing costume. Don’t bust on the people who do, though.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson November 4, 2013, 2:42 pm

        How about this clever idea of just never referring to each other as sluts at all. Shocking I know! But haters gon hate I guess.

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        kerrycontrary November 4, 2013, 2:47 pm

        Yup I don’t use the slut word. If I’m trying to say that someone has had a lot of sexual partners, I say promiscuous. I don’t inherently make an association between revealing clothing and sexual promiscuity though. Nor do I view promiscuity or showing a lot of skin as bad things though.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl November 4, 2013, 2:48 pm

        I can’t speak for Lyra, but I do roll my eyes at the “sexy cop” or “sexy dentist” costumes. That’s what I would mean when referring to a “slutty costume”.

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        kerrycontrary November 4, 2013, 3:03 pm

        But who cares? I mean honestly, it doesn’t affect you in the slightest. Someone dressing up as a sexy nurse has nothing to do with you. And as a woman, I wouldn’t feel that attractive in a realistic cop costume so yeh I might want to wear something shorter and more flattering that freaking blue dickies and a button down work shirt. So I don’t know why people really need to pass judgement on something so inconsequential as a Halloween costume. I think people should be able to dress up as a goddamn sexy dinosaur if they want to and it makes them feel happy and they are having fun.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl November 4, 2013, 3:06 pm

        Well honestly, that’s why I don’t participate in Halloween anymore (beyond pumpkin carving and watching Hocus Pocus). I honestly don’t care what people do, and I take myself out of the situation.

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        lets_be_honest November 4, 2013, 3:41 pm

        I like to think of myself as an equal opportunity eye roller, and I’d recommend you be the same…I will roll my eyes at the people who wear Slutty Banana costumes AND the people who wear Regular Banana costumes. More eye rolling at the second Banana though, because we all know they just think they are too “above” wearing the Slutty Banana costume. At least you can take the Slutty Banana at face value.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl November 4, 2013, 3:44 pm

        Well…in all fairness I didn’t say I don’t roll my eyes at banana costumes.

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        lets_be_honest November 4, 2013, 3:46 pm

        Haha, touche!

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        Banana November 4, 2013, 6:34 pm

        WOAH I had to slow down and read this thread because for a second I thought “Oh no why is everyone rolling their eyes at me did I do something awkward?”

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray November 4, 2013, 3:41 pm

        Agreed. Halloween is fun. Everyone needs to relax. Who cares how others dress. There are too many panties in a wad here.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray November 4, 2013, 3:37 pm

        Hey, getting groped by a stranger in a bar is what some people call, say, a pretty sweet Tuesday night.

        Some people, not anyone I know.

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    • Stonegypsy

      Stonegypsy November 4, 2013, 12:43 pm

      Some people enjoy a good dinner party. And friends, booze, and good food is the best way I could think of to make greeting trick-or-treaters more interesting.

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    • avatar

      Banana November 4, 2013, 12:52 pm

      Yeah, this post really makes you sound like the pinnacle of maturity and good advice. Different people have fun different ways. The people who I’ve found are the least fun to be around in ANY situation are the ones who so judgmental of any new idea, and so “cooler than thou” about what they will agree to do, that they never enjoy anything at all. Sounds like you’d fit easily into that crowd.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom November 4, 2013, 12:53 pm

      Lots of people in their 50s dress up for Halloween parties. We’re old enough that we don’t need to dress up our kids and take them out trick-or-treating so we’re free to have our own fun.

      If you’re invited to something that sounds boring you say you’re sorry you have other plans but you don’t say you’ll be there and then not show up.

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    • Imsostartled

      Imsostartled November 4, 2013, 1:08 pm

      Yeah this was a bit rude. I’m 28 and I LOVE SEEING THE TRICK OR TREATERS SO CUTE. There was this little boy who was dressed as a train and his mom was like “Who are you for Halloween?” and he was like “Nevan!” and she was like “No no who are you dressing up as.” 🙂 So adorable. Oh… what were we talking about?

      Yeah, most of my friends (actually all of them now that I think about it) don’t go to Halloween parties. Instead they either stay at home for the treaters and invite friends or take their kids out. So really to each their own.

      @Lyra I agree with IWTTS about the slut word. Let’s not go down that rabbit hole. To each their own right?

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      • Lyra

        Lyra November 4, 2013, 1:44 pm

        Yeah, I do apologize for that. Didn’t mean to be so uppity, just not a fan of costumes that barely cover what should be covered.

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        Kate November 4, 2013, 2:41 pm

        Why should it be covered? I mean that seriously.

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      • Stonegypsy

        Stonegypsy November 4, 2013, 2:53 pm

        Hear, hear! Some people prefer ‘barely cover things’ costumes, and some people aren’t comfortable in those. It’s no one else’s business to tell you that you should or shouldn’t wear a particular type.
        Though, I dressed up for Rocky Horror on Thursday night and felt pretty incredibly awkward walking past parents with their kids, even if I was wearing a coat over the corset..

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        kerrycontrary November 4, 2013, 3:00 pm

        @lyra I just don’t think its for you to judge what should be covered. If you think those parts of yourself should be covered, then cover them. But you don’t get to decide what everyone else in the world should or shouldn’t wear. And if it’s really so offensive to you then you should probably stop leaving your house or watching television.

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      • katie

        katie November 4, 2013, 3:25 pm

        abso-freaking-lutely!

        its really starting to get old seeing the divide between the people who refuse any and all of halloween because its “so slutty now” or whatever, and then the people who dress up (in any manner) and go do whatever.

        also, read what dan savage has to say about halloween. its brilliant, and i think if people started to look at it in that way, they might not have so much hatred for it…

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest November 4, 2013, 3:32 pm

        The only question when it comes to costumes should be “Do you like your costume?” Simple as that.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle November 4, 2013, 3:18 pm

        What about this (NSFW)?

        (ahaha sorry, I just needed to post that somewhere, & don’t feel like jumping into the conversation in any serious way at the moment)

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl November 4, 2013, 3:27 pm

        So…what’s the costume here? A nudist? I know I am very clearly on the conservative side of clothing but come on…

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      • Stonegypsy

        Stonegypsy November 4, 2013, 3:36 pm

        A request to be charged with indecent exposure? Not sure I’d want to go totally naked, but I still have to admire the courage.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl November 4, 2013, 3:42 pm

        I think that’s why I can’t wrap my head around it- wearing revealing clothing is one thing. Not wearing any…?? There are actual laws, in addition to social standards, that at a minimum genetalia must be covered in public.

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      • Stonegypsy

        Stonegypsy November 4, 2013, 4:07 pm

        Maybe there’s fig leaves that we can’t see from behind.

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    • avatar

      Kate November 4, 2013, 3:12 pm

      I agree it sounds boring, to me personally. But I’d just politely decline the invitation. I don’t go to things like that unless there’s a really good social reason to suck it up and do it.

      I do think it’s rude to agree to go to something and then be a no call/no show. UNLESS the invitation made it sound like an open-house sort of thing rather than a 4-couple sit-down dinner party. Have we established whether that might have been the issue?

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    • bittergaymark

      Bittergaymark November 4, 2013, 4:13 pm

      That’s MISSING the fucking point though. If an invite strikes you are boring — fine. Politely decline. You don’t RSVP Yes and then go MIA. Actually, this response is exactly why pretty much everybody my age thinks most of you are classless dimwits.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    lemongrass November 4, 2013, 11:28 am

    Taking the high road is definitely the way to go. Have room in your life for forgiveness.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    starpattern November 4, 2013, 11:48 am

    I would be pretty upset if this happened to me but at the end of the day Wendy is right – it would be an extreme coincidence for a catastrophe to happen for both couples at the same time, but it is possible, so you have to keep that in mind. I’d use her suggestion to send that concerned e-mail, or just let it go until the next time you plan to invite them. And the next time, make it clear you plan to buy and prepare food according to their RSVP (“Hey guys, are you still coming? I’m going to the grocery store today, so I need to know how much chicken/wine I should buy.”) or better yet, make your boyfriend do the communicating since they are his friends. Try not to get too invested in being upset about this, though, because there’s really nothing you can do about it.

    Just thinking out loud: I’m trying to remember a time I was so upset or overwhelmed I couldn’t let people know I wasn’t able to keep the plans we’d made. I think I have always at least been able to fire off a quick text like, “Not going to be able to make it – feeling really sick!” or “Rain check? Family emergency.” I’ve also never had a friend flake without at least sending a text. I guess this is a personal thing, but it would stress me out even more that on top of whatever crisis was going on, I had a friend sitting around waiting on me to show up.

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    • avatar

      ktfran November 4, 2013, 11:57 am

      I totally agree with your second paragraph. Barring extreme circumstances, I’ve always been able to at least send a text when I needed to bail. Then, I would follow up the next day or a couple of days later.

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    • GatorGirl

      GatorGirl November 4, 2013, 12:06 pm

      I agree as well regarding at least sending a quick text. Unless I was unconscious, I can’t think of a reason I wouldn’t/couldn’t at minimum send a “Can’t make it, emergency, sorry!” text. I’m sure there are very valid reasons that another person wouldn’t be able to send it, but I just don’t see it for myself or anyone in my close friend group. At a minimum I would follow up the next day and apologize and offer at least some sort of explanation- even if the explanation is just “I had a personal emergency to take care of, I feel terrible for not letting you know yesterday.”

      Reply Link
      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled November 4, 2013, 1:29 pm

        Yeah, I get you GG, I have the same personality. I’ve had times where I’ve had very serious emergency’s and I still was like “Mr. Imsostartled, we need to … gasp… tell the Johnson’s we’re not going to be able to make it”. Also, if I’m late for a party I always need to text to let them know. Even if it’s just a normal party where it’s just a drop by anytime after 6 type thing.

        However, not everyone is like this (nor should they be, because I get kind of cray-cray in this regard) and as long as it’s not habitual I think we should let some things slide.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl November 4, 2013, 1:41 pm

        I agree. 1st time offense, I wouldn’t make a huge deal out of it. But I would probably check in some how, ask if they where okay/I was bummed that they didn’t let us know. But I wouldn’t rule them out of my life.

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      • avatar

        starpattern November 4, 2013, 2:51 pm

        Agree that if it’s not habitual you should just let it go.

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  • Miss MJ

    Miss MJ November 4, 2013, 11:58 am

    I kind of disagree here. It’s not worth going nuclear on them, but I wouldn’t give them a pass, either. Assuming that these couples knew it was a small dinner party and that they actually rsvp’d, it is just incredibly rude to no show without even a head’s up, and when you’ve been that rude it isn’t the job of the hostess to fall over herself to make excuses for you. I understand things happen and sometimes you can’t make it to something you have said you could, but if you’ve said you’re going to someone’s house for a dinner party where you know that they put in time and effort to prepare something for you, you absolutely have to let them know if you can’t go. If you can’t do it beforehand because of an actual situation, then you have to apologize as soon as possible afterword. If it’s something personal, you don’t have to go into the details, but it’s just incredibly rude to make them call you and then say “yeah, we’re bailing.” And, truthfully, while one couple out of three might have had a legit emergency or trauma that preluded attendance or manners, what are the odds two out of three of them did? Slim. It’s more likely than not that these folks decided they didn’t want to go and just skipped it. Either that, or it wasn’t made clear that this was an “official” event, in which case, the LW should let it go and be more clear next time.

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  • avatar

    EricaSwagger November 4, 2013, 11:09 am

    Friend stuff is always so difficult. Maybe more so than any other relationships. With family and significant others, you’re allowed to be a little more emotional, at least in my experience.

    If you make it a big deal and your friends thought nothing of it, you come off a little cray and they’re like “what the heck is her problem, why is she making such a big deal out of this?” and you risk them not wanting you around for a while.
    Then, if you don’t make a big deal, they just get away with treating your poorly.

    Take a day or two to let the hurt feelings pass so you can talk without all the emotion. Send a quick email or text and say “Hey I know it may not have seemed like much to you guys but I put a lot of effort into that get-together, so next time can you please just try to let me know if you can’t make it?” That way they’ll know you were hurt without you having to be super emotional about it, and hopefully the politeness will make them feel a little guilty and not pull that crap again.

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  • avatar

    Lucy November 4, 2013, 12:17 pm

    LW, your friends were super rude. I don’t think I would have flaked without notice even in the what-if situation Wendy suggests it takes 2 seconds to send a text message. But the only thing ruder than what they did would be you pointing out to them how rude they were. So please ignore the commenters who suggest that route.
    If this is the first and only time these friends have ever been this rude, then I’d let it go. But if it is or becomes a pattern of flakiness, I’d stop inviting them over. If that bothers your bf, then let him invite them over and do all the prep work while you chill out with a good book. The less you invest in these people, the less you’ll feel personally hurt when they act rudely.

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  • katie

    katie November 4, 2013, 12:37 pm

    Thank you, Wendy!!

    Geez, shit happens, you know? And this happened exactly once? I don’t get it. Honestly, if you are that crazy to cut someone out because of this, be really upfront about that, so they can very clearly see the crazy. In my opinion though, that would be a flavor to the friends. At least it would be for me.

    Furthermore, these are your boyfriends friends. Let him deal with all this.

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  • avatar

    Banana November 4, 2013, 12:43 pm

    I agree with Wendy’s advice, but I just wanted to say, as well: LW, I don’t think you’re being overly dramatic for being deeply hurt and disappointed. I know a lot of people are saying you’re being melodramatic, but I really do get how hurt and sad and blue you’d feel about something like that happening. I don’t blame you for your initial reaction of being very sad and angry about it. I’d just second what others have said about taking a step back, and reminding yourself to give them a chance to explain before you take it out on them. But I actually know how painful it is to get stood up, especially when you were really looking forward to something.

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  • iwannatalktosampson

    iwannatalktosampson November 4, 2013, 12:53 pm

    Is it weird that I feel like I win when my advice – prior to wendy posting hers – was the same? Happy Monday to me.

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  • Imsostartled

    Imsostartled November 4, 2013, 12:56 pm

    I think I was a little harsh in the forums, but I didn’t mean that she should never invite them again, just try to prevent it from happening again in the future. This is one of my pet peeve’s tbh, we have a couple that has done this to us like 6-7 times and while they have excuses (sometimes, sometimes our other friends out them for lying 😛 but I digress) our place is just too small to invite a large group of people so when they are absent we feel bad that we couldn’t have invited another couple. So we don’t invite them to our place anymore (we still see them). So I think I was projecting a bit!

    Anyways, Wendy’s response to them was really nice/great. Look at it this way, if it had just been one couple you would have likely given them a pass. So it’s really not fair that because both of them “flaked” that you would treat them differently the first time. They didn’t know that the other wouldn’t be there. However, if it happens multiple times then I would talk to them about the issue directly. It’s not ok to let people walk all over you (not that I think that was their intent this time).

    Oh, and if/when people start having kids it’s a bit of a game changer. There are so many times that some of our other friends have had to cancel. For instance if the kid is sick, throwing a tantrum , too tired, etc etc etc. We’ve never been upset in the least, shit happens. Which is why (tangent) we mostly go to their place because it is so much easier for them to handle. Oftentimes we bring dinner and everyone’s happy. Especially when “Auntie” Imsostartled starts changing poopy diapers and giving the kids baths when she’s there.

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  • Stonegypsy

    Stonegypsy November 4, 2013, 12:59 pm

    Wendy is always so calm and mature and level-headed. I, like some other people on here, have a tendency to overreact when I feel slighted. But I agree completely with WWS. It’s best to give people the benefit of the doubt in the same way that you’d want them to give you the benefit of the doubt in a similar (or even totally different) situation.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy November 4, 2013, 1:12 pm

      Well, it’s easier to be level-headed when I’m not the subject of the rude behavior!

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      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled November 4, 2013, 1:30 pm

        Haha I think you’re right Wendy. I think some people (like me!) suffered from PTSD with this issue, hence the comments.

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      • Stonegypsy

        Stonegypsy November 4, 2013, 2:57 pm

        Yeah, I think the more this happens to you, the more sensitive you get about it. Flakiness seems to be the default for people in my area, so I pretty much just always expect that only 50% of the people I invite to any given thing are going to show up, but it’s still hard not to take it personally sometimes.

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  • landygirl

    landygirl November 4, 2013, 1:06 pm

    Maybe I just don’t understand the youth of today but I find it totally unacceptable that they didn’t even phone her to say they weren’t coming. It would take 1 minute for them to call or text and say they couldn’t make it. If people think that being rude is acceptable then they won’t hesitate to continue to be rude and thoughtless because hey, it’s not a big deal they’ve done it before.

    I’d also have your boyfriend handle it since they are his friends. I wouldn’t continue to put myself out to thoughtless people.

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  • kare

    kare November 4, 2013, 1:29 pm

    That sucks, but move on with your life. I mean at least you had one couple and your boyfriend there. Maybe I’m weird, but I’m more upset if I get cancelled on if every friend cancels on me. Like friend 1 isn’t feeling well, friend 2 and her boyfriend are having a bad fight, and friend 3 got off work late and is exhausted from a 60 hour work week. It sucks, but life goes on. Eventually I cancel on them so it evens out.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark November 4, 2013, 1:34 pm

    Eh, I’d remain friendly with these folks. But I’d also NEVER invite them over for dinner again. A large party? Maybe. But an intimate dinner? Nope. Never again. Wendy is being far too kind. Bad things DO happen. Fights, illnesses, blah blah blah. But in this day where everybody is already fucking glued to their phones there is NO excuse for not sending your host a heads up.

    Only rude, self absorbed people would fail to do so.

    Oh, right. That’s an entire generation or two, isn’t it? Honestly, it astounds me how self absorbed younger people are today. Even more so, how everybody makes excuses for such bad behavior. Oh, they got caught up in a crisis. A petty fight? Diarrhea? Really? If you can’t handle these fucking softballs, good luck when the shit REALLY hits the fan.

    Follow Wendy’s advice about saying how worried you both were and blah, blah, blah. But — cross them off your guest list. Permanently. And don’t mention why either. Treat them as shitty as their excuses will undoubtedly be… Nobody had a miscarriage here. You can fucking bet on that.

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    • avatar

      Banana November 4, 2013, 1:50 pm

      Meh, there’s a difference between being disgustingly self-absorbed and just being human. I agree that the reason likely wasn’t a massive personal crisis, and that it’s normally extremely rude not to at least call (which takes all of ten seconds) but sometimes the problem isn’t that someone can’t reach a phone, it’s just that when something major happens, it simply slips your mind. Like in my example above, when I described missing a friend’s birthday celebration because I was on the phone most of the day with my family about my dad’s potential cancer diagnosis (he’s okay, by the way!). I admit it was a little rude that I forgot to call my friend right away to let her know I wasn’t coming. But I don’t think it was friendship-dealbreaker rude. It was one of those lapses that an understanding friend would forgive. At the very least, the LW should find out what the couples’ excuses were, BEFORE leaping to judgement.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom November 4, 2013, 4:36 pm

        If they had an actual emergency or family crisis as soon as they realized they hadn’t gone to the party and hadn’t called they should have apologized and given some explanation of why they weren’t there. If they had given a good reason when she contacted them she wouldn’t be upset and most people don’t have such top secret family crisis that they can’t at least give a general explanation even if they don’t want to go into the details.

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    • avatar

      Sue Jones November 4, 2013, 3:02 pm

      Nah, I agree with BGM. Seriously, not even a phone call? Or even a text? When people are expecting you? I would move them from “Category A” or intimate friends, into “Category B” friends, i.e. those you invite to a large gathering but not your intimate circle. Really, do you want people who are so absorbed in their own drama that they only think of themselves in your intimate circle? And it sounds like YOU did most of the work of preparing, cooking, cleaning for your boyfriends friends. Next time, let HIM do all the work for HIS friends, and YOU do the work for YOUR friends. Yeah, send the courteous email that Wendy drafted, but I would take them off your list of reliable true blue friends that you would make the effort to cook a nice intimate dinner for! Not unless there is a VERY good explanation (diarrhea, something with the kids) and I am sorry, but having a fight is NOT a good excuse to miss a party. They need to either break up or suck it up like a grown-up.

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      • avatar

        Sue Jones November 4, 2013, 3:10 pm

        Basically, this is another version of “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.”

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom November 4, 2013, 4:33 pm

        Exactly!

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark November 4, 2013, 4:39 pm

        Hah! I was going to post this exact same one word response. Which — bears repeating — EXACTLY!

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      • avatar

        Banana November 4, 2013, 3:36 pm

        Okay, I’m going to turn this around, though. Yes, I agree with you and BGM that in 99% of cases, it’s extraordinarily rude not to call. But sometimes something happens that genuinely does put it out of your mind. And even if their crisis wasn’t that big a deal? We’re all human and if this is the first and only time they’ve done something like that, they deserve another chance. You say you’d avoid a couple like that after a first offense. I say I avoid people who are zero-tolerance friends — people who never give anyone a chance to make up after a one-time offense. I’ve had zero-tolerance friends, and I move them out of my intimate friend circle because I don’t want to be friends with someone who’s so self-absorbed and exacting that I’m constantly walking on eggshells, and feel like any tiny slight or accidental rudeness will be blown up into a huge thing with them, and considered totally unforgivable.

        Yeah, in this case the flakes were probably being selfish. But just in theory — if you’re going to call someone self-absorbed, stop for a second and look at your own behavior and expectations. Don’t you think that the ironclad expectation that there is NO good excuse on the face of the earth to forget to call you is…a little self-absorbed?

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      • katie

        katie November 4, 2013, 4:40 pm

        “I say I avoid people who are zero-tolerance friends — people who never give anyone a chance to make up after a one-time offense. I’ve had zero-tolerance friends, and I move them out of my intimate friend circle because I don’t want to be friends with someone who’s so self-absorbed and exacting that I’m constantly walking on eggshells, and feel like any tiny slight or accidental rudeness will be blown up into a huge thing with them, and considered totally unforgivable.”

        exactly.

        if you wanna be all “omg your THE WORST PERSON for doing this”! fine. but you wont have many friends in too long, because shit happens and sometimes you just need to get over it.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest November 4, 2013, 4:44 pm

        Love it Banana. Sure, its rude, but worth ending a friendship over or being wildly offended? Not even close.

        p.s. Please tell me you were a minion for Halloween.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark November 4, 2013, 5:43 pm

        Can nobody read? I never said I’d end the friendship — just that they wouldn’t be invited to any more dinner parties…

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest November 4, 2013, 5:44 pm

        Can ANYbody read is what I think you meant.

        I didn’t read your comment. I read Banana’s and replied to Banana’s.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest November 4, 2013, 5:56 pm

        1 and done is pretty harsh though, no? I totally get not inviting them again if they just always did this.

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      • avatar

        Banana November 4, 2013, 6:27 pm

        Isn’t that kind of a big step backward in friendship, though? That’s like saying, “I’d still be their friend, I’d just cut the time we spend together in half,” or “I’d still be their friend, but I won’t involve them in any significant events in my life.” Yes, you’re still friends. That’s nice. But it’s sort of a friend demotion to say you’re never inviting them to a dinner party ever again. And that’s an extreme response to ONE misstep. Even if it was fully as rude as we all assume (no good excuse for ditching OR forgetting to call). Everyone screws up sometimes, okay? I’m not saying you need to put up with people who make a habit of it, but no one’s perfect so if you expect perfection from your friends, you won’t have any.

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      • avatar

        BreezyAM November 4, 2013, 10:56 pm

        to me it’s not. I’d do other things with them, beer and casual stuff, but when I cook for you shit is pretty real. So no, no flaking allowed.

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      • avatar

        starpattern November 5, 2013, 12:44 pm

        Yeah exactly. I already have friends who are more “come over for dinner” friends and others who are more “let’s grab a beer and chat” friends. I’m not necessarily closer to the friends in the dinner group, it’s just that’s how I prefer to socialize with them. It’s not like you’re shunning them forever, just reducing your risk of putting a bunch of effort into making dinner for some folks who might not show up.

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      • avatar

        Banana November 4, 2013, 6:29 pm

        Alas, I was not a minion. I was Dead Lou Reed. And it was waaaaaaaaaay too soon.

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      • avatar

        Sue Jones November 4, 2013, 5:47 pm

        Well perhaps I come at it from a different perspective. I used to be overly forgiving during my young adult phase. But after dealing with too many flakes, I decided to treat myself better. And really I am pretty tolerant of planning a group something and having people not show up for whatever reason… but if I spent all day cooking and cleaning and 4 people don’t show up without even a text, I would be pretty annoyed. And I wouldn’t even emotionally vomit all over them, I just probably would not feel so inclined to invite them over and cook dinner for them again. It is called “Setting Boundaries”. Perhaps I would instead invite those people (Category B) to a restaurant where everyone pays their own way and if they don’t show, it is no skin off my back. The ones who did show up would still have a nice dinner, and there would be no cleaning up. I have had a lot of practice with this by now. Believe me. And the friend who constantly canceled on me? Well she has moved to a more outer orbit of my friend circle. Still a friend, but I don’t make plans with her anymore.

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    • theattack

      theattack November 4, 2013, 4:44 pm

      Everything you said except the stab at young people. I would never even dream of doing something like that. Real emergencies happen, but people also provide explanations for them. I think these people just bailed.

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  • avatar

    lshorty November 4, 2013, 1:40 pm

    I had something like this happen to me. I understand how hurt you are you probably put work into making sure this was a great party and it sucks when people don’t show up for you like you want them to. After this happened to me I wanted to rip my family a new one for not showing up and for flaking and I realized that my anger at them was really two things: 1. Embarrassment (I hosted a get together and no one showed) 2. Hurt (I wanted a chance to say goodbye before moving 1,000 miles away and they couldn’t even show up for me.) After realizing why I was so mad I decided to let it go. I am sure they have good reasons for not showing up and by not reacting to my anger I made sure that I was proud of my behavior. I think if you react the way you want to you might regret it later. It might be a good idea just to let your feelings calm down and then when you see them again check and make sure they are OK and then move on. Yes you are hurt but in the grand scheme of life you know now that you have two friends who will show up for you. That is what is important.

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  • Jess

    Jess November 4, 2013, 1:52 pm

    I agree on Wendy’s analysis and advice. However, I’d tweak the suggested email script by adding, “I was really bummed that you didn’t make it.” I’d insert that into the middle of the rest of the script Wendy wrote out. It’s a bit more genuine and lets the friends know that LW *did* feel hurt. But I agree its important to include the expression of concern. Wendy’s example in the comments along with a few others illustrates that shit does happen –although I still find it odd that nothing was communicated.

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  • avatar

    RangerChic November 4, 2013, 2:08 pm

    I’m sort of in the middle on this…I would have been ticked off too. Anyway, my daughter had a friend stay the night one time and the next day was Sunday so the night before school and I was told her friend would be picked up at noon. Okay great because we wanted to have family time. Well they didn’t pick her up until 4. I was livid and sad for her because she had some homework to finish up too. Well I found out later through my daughter that he (her uncle picked her up) said “I meant noon on the west coast”…WTH??? who does that? (We are in central time zone). Also, after about 12:30 her friend kept trying to call/text to see what was up and never got a response and no their was no emergency just rudeness (her friend did mention they always seem to run late) but um 4 hours???

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  • meadowphoenix

    meadowphoenix November 4, 2013, 2:11 pm

    I would give them another chance because it’s only the first time. But, LW did give them a chance to respond already, the night of the party, and they didn’t give a reason. So I disagree with Wendy, when she says that LW should consider that they might have had unforeseen circumstances when they could have explained that in text the night of the party. They had already responded with nothing. So I get your annoyance.

    If they no-showed or were flaky AGAIN, then I would only invite them things where their participation or non-participation was irrelevant.

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    • avatar

      WAPS November 4, 2013, 2:42 pm

      Well, I think it depends on what the reason for the no-show is, and it’s just not appropriate for her to ask. Some things, I don’t share with people. Take Wendy’s example – I probably wouldn’t tell anybody except my family I had a miscarriage. When my husband’s father had a recurrence of cancer, he and I laid in bed and cried together for a long time, then took some time to put ourselves back together. We probably wouldn’t have remembered we had other plans, and if someone had texted us, I would have said, “We can’t make it.” I wouldn’t have gone into specifics because frankly, some things are private and I don’t need to tell someone about my family’s cancer so they don’t feel butthurt about a dinner party. And sure, it happening to two couples the same night is less likely, but is she going to go digging to find out whose excuse is legitimate and whose isn’t? I’d expect my friends to give me the benefit of the doubt after ONE occurrence, and I’d especially expect my friends’ girlfriends to stay out of it.

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      • meadowphoenix

        meadowphoenix November 4, 2013, 2:55 pm

        What specifics would they have needed to go into? “Sorry we had an emergency.” Done. And honestly, if you were my friend, I would respond to your text with “Are you ok?” anyway.

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        WAPS November 4, 2013, 4:37 pm

        The follow up, “Are you ok?” is an indirect demand for an explanation and/or response. They’re texting you, of course they’re at least somewhat ok. If someone tells me they have an emergency, I usually take them at their word and they don’t want to sit around texting me and write back, “Okay, let me know if you need anything.”

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        starpattern November 4, 2013, 4:57 pm

        Wow. I hope you would take a friend at their word if they ask if you are ok, and reply something like, “Yes, we’re fine, just can’t make it. Thanks for your concern.” I don’t know of anyone who is trying to pry when they ask that… they just want to make sure you or your spouse is not in critical care somewhere and to let you know they care about your well being.

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      • meadowphoenix

        meadowphoenix November 4, 2013, 5:14 pm

        All your text said was that you weren’t coming. That’s not something that suggests someone doesn’t want to talk.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl November 4, 2013, 5:23 pm

        Yikes, your definition of “are you ok?” is kinda extreme.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest November 4, 2013, 5:50 pm

        Technically WAPS is right. Example:
        Q: How’s the weather? —-a demand for an explanation and/or response.

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      • avatar

        BreezyAM November 4, 2013, 10:59 pm

        This may be a different levels thing for people too… I wouldn’t invite people to a formal small dinner party where their absence would be noticed unless we were the kind of friends who could/would say “I fucking had a miscarriage, my life sucks, I just wanna stay home.”

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  • avatar

    WAPS November 4, 2013, 2:24 pm

    I think one thing to keep in mind is that these are her boyfriend’s friends, not hers. These aren’t her relationships to ruin. She doesn’t even mention how her boyfriend feels about it – if he doesn’t care, she should let it go. And to all the people who said “never invite them over again,” why does she unilaterally get to decide who her boyfriend gets to socialize with when they’re together? I would never, ever email my husband’s friends to passive aggressively demand an explanation for why they flaked on plans once. Even if that’s not what was intended (but going by the outraged letter written here, that would almost certainly be the intent), that is how the recipient is most likely going to take it.

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      rieux November 4, 2013, 3:10 pm

      “I would never, ever email my husband’s friends to passive aggressively demand an explanation for why they flaked on plans once.”

      I don’t think it’s fair for any guy to watch his girlfriend cook a bunch of food for his friends and even maintain the email correspondence about the event, and then object to her asking the friends what happened if she got screwed over by their not showing up (even if they turn out to have a good reason). What is she, Donna Reed? If they’re close enough friends of hers to eat her food, they’re close enough to answer her legitimate (and, hopefully, kindly and politely phrased) question about what happened.

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        WAPS November 4, 2013, 4:41 pm

        Really? Screwed over? This is not “screwing someone over.” This is being inconsiderate once. Clearly, you’ve never really been screwed over, because this is not it.

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        rieux November 4, 2013, 5:45 pm

        I think if you cook for a lot of people and they don’t show up to eat it, you get screwed over–just for that hour, or that day. Because you wasted effort. What phrase would you prefer? I didn’t say she’d been screwed over and her whole life had been ruined.

        Just curious, why the antagonism? If I could prove that I’ve had as many people do shitty things to me as the next average 26-year-old, would you care more about my opinion?

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      • theattack

        theattack November 4, 2013, 10:03 pm

        And money. Hosting events like that is expensive as hell. It could be very special that the LW got to host it. She could have saved for months to be able to host the dinner. That’s really not that far fetched. It would very much hurt my feelings if I went to that kind of trouble for someone who couldn’t be bothered to even cancel.

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  • meadowphoenix

    meadowphoenix November 4, 2013, 2:58 pm

    why does she unilaterally get to decide who her boyfriend gets to socialize with when they’re together

    Because a person always gets to decide whether they want to be around people unilaterally. The boyfriend then gets to decide how he wants to handle that, but “Who I want Around Me” is always unilateral.

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    • meadowphoenix

      meadowphoenix November 4, 2013, 2:59 pm

      This was a reply to WAPS

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      WAPS November 4, 2013, 4:27 pm

      I said, “when they’re together.” If you are jointly hosting dinners with your significant other, you don’t get to say, “Your friends don’t get invited because they offended me once by flaking out.” I mean, you CAN, but it’s shitty. I just can’t imagine being so shitty to my husband that I told him that we were no longer inviting his friends because they offended me once in a trivial way. In fact, that is usually the beginning of a slippery slope to isolating him from his friends and support network.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray November 4, 2013, 4:44 pm

        Who here thinks WAPS is the cutest name ever? I wish I had thought of it.

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      • meadowphoenix

        meadowphoenix November 4, 2013, 5:39 pm

        Yes. You absolutely do get to say that, if that’s a need you have. It’s actually shitty to “force” someone to spend time with someone they don’t want to (and just as much unilateral except that it actually impinges on a person’s autonomy) much more than it is to say “If you hang out with these people, I’m not going to be there.” A person has a right to hang out with their friends without interference from a SO; they don’t have a right to hang out with their friends AND SO, when the SO doesn’t want to (whether you can say they can’t come to the house at all is another matter and not one we’re talking about here).

        Saying “I don’t want to hang out with these people” isn’t the same as saying “You can’t hang out with these people,” so I don’t know where your slippery slope is coming from.

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  • Portia

    Portia November 4, 2013, 3:48 pm

    I agree with Wendy that the LW shouldn’t go nuclear on them or bar them from all gatherings. However, if it were me, I just wouldn’t invite them to another event like a dinner party where I put a lot of effort in. Does the LW host potlucks? Or Sunday football/other sporting event viewing party? Or something else where you’re not cooking for a crowd and/or the invite is not as specific? Invite them to those. And if the LW’s boyfriend expresses the fact that he wants to invite them to another one of these sit-down dinner parties, then I think it’s fair to ask him to do the cooking and preparations for that. That way she’s not setting herself up for this to happen again. And no one (apart from the LW or the LW and her boyfriend) really need to know that these arrangements are being made.

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  • sobriquet

    Sobriquet November 4, 2013, 6:16 pm

    The most likely scenario is that they didn’t realize this was a formal thing. Otherwise they are the rudest people alive, which is incredibly possible. It was on them to let you know they couldn’t make it and it was certainly on them to reach out afterwards, but they didn’t write in for advice. I would send a message along the lines of: “Hey, we missed you the other night! I ended up cooking such and such and the trick-or-treaters were adorbs. Hope everything is okay!” and leave it at that. Depending on the response I would wait a long time before inviting them to a dinner party again unless they were actively involved in it (like bringing a dish). I know how much time a preparation goes into throwing a dinner party, so I fully understand your frustration. As rude as it was, try not to take it personally. Life’s too short to go cutting people out for mere rudeness.

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