The Select Few
In a couple of months, my husband and I are hosting our 25th wedding anniversary dinner. We’re planning a quiet, black-tie dinner at a nice restaurant. We plan to spend the evening with our best friends — or at least some of them. The room can only seat so many. Our invitations are ready to go out, with RSVP cards and envelopes enclosed. Word has gotten around, and friends are sending us emails or texts, saying they want to know the date. Some of them did not make the list. Single friends, who are sure of being invited, have already asked if they can bring a guest. This will be a sit-down dinner and will cost us a pretty penny. How do we deal with this like grown-ups? — Anonymous, Hillwood
Don’t get defensive about your dinner party planning, or the guest list. Cutting the list hurts, but you’ve done it. Blame the size of the dining room. It’s a handy excuse, but it's the right reason, too.
Once the invitations go out, people will get the message. But if you don’t want to sever ties with people whom you like (or love), you’ll have to return their messages. Be glad they haven’t called. This time, texts and emails will save you from making the same explanation again and again and again.
You don’t plan to spend the entire evening in doldrums, so don’t say, “We’re sorry, but…” Just go ahead and say, “We wish that we could have included more of our friends.” That will raise the question as to why they didn’t make the cut. But it’s what you had to do. So, go ahead and say it.
For the fortunate friends who ask to bring a friend along, no is the simple, right answer. The number of chairs in the room will work there, too, but you don’t need to explain, just as they didn’t need to ask.
Just hold your heads up, party down and pay the bills.
I’m retired, but I stay active in politics. In recent years, I’ve worked hard on several successful campaigns, but I’m always surprised that the candidates never seem to recognize me when I see them in public. At a restaurant, for example, they never stop by and say hello. It seems to me that, even if we’re not close friends, the least they could do is acknowledge my presence and give me a chance to introduce them to my own friends. I’m sure they think that I’m lying or just bragging, but I don’t think I am. What should I do? — Anonymous, Oak Hill
They’re securely elected now, but everything that happens in public — like a trip to the grocery store for toilet paper — isn’t a public event. At least sometimes, they’re not there to work the ropes.
Quite honestly, they may not remember you. If they’re in office now, a lot of people supported them. While they’re waiting in the checkout line, you can speak to them, but be sure to introduce yourself. That’s nice manners, even if you’re intruding into their private lives.