I'm not sure if I'm invited to a private birthday party. How do I tell?
October 29, 2010 11:57 AM   Subscribe

A friend invited me to a private birthday hangout about a month and a half ago, but hasn't brought it up since. I think she may have forgotten, and I'm fine either way - how do I check and see if I'm still invited without making her feel like she has to have me over?

So, a potentially awkward social question: about a month and a half ago, a friend invited me over via SMS for her birthday (next Tuesday) to hang out with her + her SO (play video games, drink beer, eat food - usual stuff we do when hanging out). As far as I know, I'm the only person that was invited; I was rather honored she'd ask, and replied yes.

Fast forward to this week - we work in the same office, but not together. Lately she's been mentioning both around-the-office and on Twitter how much she's looking forward to the time alone with SO, how much she's looking forward to the day, etc. - but there are other people around that I'm sure weren't invited, so I don't think she'd mention I was coming over anyway. I haven't really had a chance to tactfully bring it up without anyone else around, and as far as I can recall, she hasn't mentioned it once since asking me - making me wonder if she may have forgotten the invite. (She's not usually very forgetful, but it was a month-and-a-half-ago.) While I'd be mildly bummed if I'm not included, if she just wants to spend the day alone with her boyfriend that's perfectly fine with me - it's her day, we'll have plenty of future opportunities to hang out, and I wouldn't mind using the day to work on other projects. But - if I am invited, I need to make a few preparations over the weekend.

So, the question is: how do I broach the subject without making her feel guilty and/or obligated to have me over due to the earlier invite? Or am I way overthinking this, and since I did get the invite, should I not worry and just ask her privately "what should I bring" when I get a chance?
posted by agentmunroe to Human Relations (17 answers total)
When this happens to me, I say something along the lines of "hey, otherfriend just invited me to go bowling on Tuesday, so I wanted to check in with you since we'd talked about hanging out then, but nothing every really got firmed up." The bowling is fictional (and can "fall through" with little drama no matter what happens), but it lets the original inviter off the hook if she has changed her mind.
posted by obliquicity at 12:02 PM on October 29, 2010 [25 favorites]

I would just text her again and see if it's still on.
posted by world b free at 12:02 PM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would just text or ask, in private, "are you still down for hanging out Tuesday?" It seems pretty low-key, so I wouldn't make a big deal. If she's changed her mind, she can say so.
posted by quadrilaterals at 12:04 PM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Don't worry about what she's saying around the office. She might be little-white-lying to get out of having to guilt-invite people she really doesn't want to see, or make people jealous over the relationship between you two. People are horribly petty and she doesn't want to burn bridges. Meanwhile, you did receive an overt invitation and no personal indication that it was rescinded.

I'd go to a liquor/wine store (or wherever you're going to bring something to the event) and send her a text/call along the lines of "hey, I'm at liquor store, what would you like me to bring?" If it turns out you are no longer invited and she forgot to tell you she'll let you know. Don't worry about feeling awkward; if you are uninvited, this is her situation to gracefully extricate herself from, not yours.
posted by griphus at 12:05 PM on October 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

Ah, it sounds like she changed her mind about having you there. She is well aware that you read her Twitter feed and overhear what she is saying to others around the office. She probably hopes that you will get the hint without the awkward conversation that you want to bring about.
posted by halogen at 12:06 PM on October 29, 2010 [3 favorites]

You could say, "Are we still on for next week?" if you wanted to be a bit vague; maybe say "your text didn't say what time" or 'is _other day_ better for you?"
posted by pointystick at 12:07 PM on October 29, 2010

Ask "is it still on"? Since she asked you, and hasn't explicitly revoked the invitation, it is actually your responsibility to follow up, so don't be afraid to.
posted by tel3path at 12:11 PM on October 29, 2010

She probably hopes that you will get the hint without the awkward conversation that you want to bring about.

Maybe, but she could just as much hurt her friend's feelings by not coming to her birthday party after saying she would. A little awkwardness sure beats that, all around.
posted by griphus at 12:13 PM on October 29, 2010

A month and a half is a long enough time that I would be worried that she had forgot or otherwise wasn't planning on it anymore. Along the lines of obliquicity's suggestion, you can say "Hey I was thinking about on doing [some activity that does not involve her] on Tuesday, but then I remembered your text from last month about your birthday. Are you still up for having me over?" That way she won't really feel bad about telling you that you are un-invited if she has changed her mind since then.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:13 PM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

I know this would end 99.5% of every sitcom episode ever written in under 5 minutes*, but sometimes if you're reasonably comfortable with a person, you know, the thing to do, is - what I'm trying to say would be:


"I appreciated that invite a (week/month/year) ago, but I noticed on twitter something about you looked forward to some down time alone, too. Just checking to see if plans have changed. It's cool either way. Let me know, girlfriend!"**

*not that that would be a bad thing
** unless you are of opposite genders or one of you is a lesbian, in which case this could go badly (or get interesting).
posted by randomkeystrike at 12:13 PM on October 29, 2010 [13 favorites]

I would just text and say, "Did you still want me to swing by on Tuesday, or would you rather share birthday-beers later in the week?"
posted by booknerd at 12:18 PM on October 29, 2010 [3 favorites]

Just ask her if the get together is still on?
posted by runit at 12:36 PM on October 29, 2010

If I were in your position, I'd put a little more emphasis on her wishes. Something like this:

"Hey, you mentioned something in a text a few weeks back about getting together for your birthday next week. That sounds great to me, but I also think you might want to spend your special day alone with your boyfriend. Would you rather grab a drink or hang out on Thursday instead?"

That does several things...

1. It tells her that you remembered the invitation and appreciated it.
2. It gives her a graceful way out if she'd rather not have you there.
3. It leaves room to set something up on a different schedule without being vague.
posted by ElDiabloConQueso at 12:54 PM on October 29, 2010 [4 favorites]

Dammit. I posted sooner than I meant, and left out the most important point:

4. It makes it about what she wants, and means she shouldn't have to worry about what you want.
posted by ElDiabloConQueso at 12:58 PM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Just ask and make sure you're still on. There are enough hours in the day where she can have alone time and hang out with you there as well. Especially if it's a day where y'all don't work.
posted by theichibun at 12:58 PM on October 29, 2010

"She probably hopes that you will get the hint without the awkward conversation that you want to bring about."

If that's the case, this was not an invitation, it was a passive-aggressive bitchslap, and the OP should reevaluate the friendship in that light.
posted by tel3path at 1:40 PM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thanks everyone. I have a mild dash of social awkwardness and sometimes way-overthink this kind of stuff, so getting a little outside perspective helps me a lot.

I gently brought it up with a "So, Tuesday...", made it clear that I had other plans/work I could follow through on, and it turns out she had indeed changed her mind… While I don't presume to know this, I got the impression she may have actually forgotten but didn't want to change her current plans, so the "other plans" angle was probably good.

Again, thanks everyone, even if your answer was "JUST ASK DAMMIT." It helps. :)
posted by agentmunroe at 1:52 PM on October 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

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