A social graces friend asks,
“Dear Addy, is it proper for a couple to invite you over for dinner, and once you’ve confirmed, they invite ten others for dinner on the same night, when we thought we were being invited for dinner for four? We don’t know any of these people who have been invited, and in honesty, we don’t know the couple very well either. We don’t mind dining with them, on an infrequent basis, but I thought it was rather rude and imposing as we don’t know this couple very well at all.
When I responded saying I had no idea it was going to be a large group saying I assumed it was just the four of us, they replied saying they thought it would be an excellent opportunity to meet some of the other couples they socialize with.
As time went by, I became uncomfortable with trapping us like that, and ended up declining only to receive a snotty response accusing us of cancelling the last three of four times we’ve been invited, which isn’t true, but they were obviously miffed.
I was flabbergasted that they had the nerve to respond like that, all considering. I replied by saying, ‘I didn’t realize we were being invited to meet some of the couples you socialize with’, adding that we’d love to have dinner in the coming weeks, but have to decline this time around. What I felt like saying was, ‘look here you, you tricked us into accepting an invitation and that’s what you get when you try to sneak something in the side door instead of coming to the front.’ We’ve never heard back from them. What do you think of all this?”
It’s never appropriate, acceptable or polite to sneak anything past the front door and in through the side gate, most especially ten guests you don’t know.
It’s imprudent to entrap friends into a cozy dinner for four with the intention of turning it into a barbecue for twelve to meet other couples they socialize with after you’ve accepted an invitation for four. It’s poor judgement and callous behaviour.
It’s my guess they felt that had you known of their intentions, you would have declined the invitation originally. I too would have easily declined after accepting.
When inviting guests for dinner, a proper host always tells their guests who’s attending. The exception to this rule is when it’s an event larger than a group of twenty or so. I hope they’ve learned their lesson.