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Better Than Real Life Advice: Plus… Parents?

Dear Lauren,

Two of my married friends recently had one of their parents move in with them.  At a recent dinner, it was noted that the parent expressed sadness at not being invited.  Did I inadvertently commit a social faux-pas by not inviting them to our couple-get-together event?  And, more importantly…would it be impolite to not invite them to our upcoming Christmas party, now that the ruffled sad feathers have been expressed?  I have no reason to dislike them, but I also don’t make it a habit to invite my friends’ various roommates to all of my events for the same reason: we just aren’t friends!

Is inviting them to the party going to set a weird precedent?  Or should I just roll with it?  Again, I don’t dislike them!  It just wasn’t a desire I expected would be expressed.  I am super anti-drama so either way is sort of whatever…I CAN roll with it, but I want a second opinion!

Wanting to be polite and inviting, I swear.

**Note: I was supposed to get to this last week and I didn’t. I’m pretty sure that this Christmas Party has already transpired and I am very sorry for completely dropping the ball. But! In the spirit of the holidays I thought it would be pertinent to run it anyway. Perhaps the poster can share in comments what ended up happening if the party did in fact take place already.

Dear Wanting to be Polite,

Eeeshh…. parents crashing the party. This is an odd situation. It is an odd situation even if they weren’t parents of friends. It is weird for a friend of a friend or an acquaintance of a friend or anyone associated with one of your friends who are not one of your friends to express displeasure at being “left out.”

First, I must say it is not impolite to not invite them to your Christmas party. They are not your people. On the other hand, I find it incredibly impolite for them to guilt you into an invite.

That being said, maybe they are in a bad place? Maybe they are lonely? It is the holidays after all? The holidays are a hard time for people, especially parents who are having to move in with their grown children. I have the empathy.

My advice is to ask your friends kindly, but directly about the situation. Mention that you’ve been thinking about it and you aren’t sure what to do. Were they expecting to have their parent invited? You would offer, but worry it might be awkward and you don’t want to necessarily invite them to all the things … ha… ha… right, friends? Right?! But, in the spirit of the holidays, if they would like, their parent is more than welcome.

If your friends say, “No! They are just overstepping! Don’t let it keep you up at night!” Proceed as usual and let it be their needy parent problem.

If they say, “That would be fantastic, we don’t know what to do with them and would so appreciate having a social activity for them to participate in during this bumpy moment in time.” Then roll roll roll along with it. Hand them a drink when they walk in the door and a friendly, “Merrrrrrry Christmas!” And then feel absolutely NO obligation for any future hang outs. When you go over to their house you’ll have plenty of moments for friendly small talk with the parent. Nothing else is necessary and let your friends invite them to group things on their own turf from now on. Boom.

Please let me know how this turned out!! And if anyone else has had a similar situation pop up with room mates or friends of friends please comment your story/solution. Social things are hard.



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Who the hell is she?


I am a writer living in Seattle and I believe that life is a grand adventure and only boring if you believe it to be. Plus! You don't need money to have fun.

I live with my husband, a photographer by education and a maker-of-video-games by trade, and a baby named gabe in an apartment on the hill.

I am romantic about most things and I cry... about almost anything. I tell stories to entertain you, I spread stories to keep you in the loop. I am not a grammar freak, but I do know how to spell it. I am exceedingly proud of my scrambled eggs and I really could eat an entire pan of cupcakes. If I met me, I would be my best friend. I tend to be irreverent.

If you would like to chat with me or see what else I'm up to you can follow me on Twitter (betterinrealife), on facebook, or email me at betterinrealife at gmail.