Is there any way to uninvite someone?
July 9, 2011 12:20 PM   Subscribe

How do you uninvite someone to a party? Is it ever acceptable?

If you accidentally invite someone you don't like to a party (say by accidentally including them on a mass FB event) and they are planning on going, is there any way to gracefully uninvite them? Assume the person does not know you have an issue with them, and you have also invited mutual acquaintances and their romantic partner so there is not a strong social indication they should not be there.
posted by Hey nonny nonny mouse to Human Relations (41 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sadly, I think you have two choices: either allow them to come and focus on the rest of the crowd, or be direct about your problem with them and ask for some time off. There's no subtle way to disinvite them.
posted by mercredi at 12:23 PM on July 9, 2011

There is no way to uninvite somebody from a party without their learning that you have an issue with them (or without weaving a web of deception that is likely to unravel). If it's your goal to continue to keep that a secret, you are stuck.
posted by willbaude at 12:23 PM on July 9, 2011

I'm not sure you can, especially since you've invited they're significant other. It will create WAY more problems than you want. Usually, if you're inviting someone's partner, you sort of by default invite them too, so whether or not this person had received the Facebook invite doesn't really matter. Suck it up and ignore them.
posted by katypickle at 12:24 PM on July 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

gahhh "their" not "they're"
posted by katypickle at 12:25 PM on July 9, 2011

you have also invited . . . their romantic partner

Then they would already be implicitly invited even if they hadn't been accidentally invited. Uninviting them is hardly worth the trouble. Even if you were totally unconcerned about whether this one person is offended, why offend their romantic partner?
posted by John Cohen at 12:26 PM on July 9, 2011 [5 favorites]

(On postview, what katypickle said.)
posted by John Cohen at 12:27 PM on July 9, 2011

Response by poster: I guess I should clarify that this just happened to me, and while I'm pretty hurt I'm wondering if there's any way the host could have handled this.
posted by Hey nonny nonny mouse at 12:30 PM on July 9, 2011

You could cancel the party and try again later.
posted by Bruce H. at 12:30 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think uninviting them would be much more trouble than just having this person come to the party and politely putting up with him/her.
posted by xingcat at 12:32 PM on July 9, 2011

There's no polite or graceful way for the host to have done that, because it's an inherently impolite and graceless thing to do.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 12:32 PM on July 9, 2011 [31 favorites]

If the romantic partner is invited, the person pretty much HAS to be invited, unless it's, like, a D&D party and the person doesn't game.

Do you have any further details as to why the host uninvited you? (Also, I sincerely hope your romantic partner has refused to go upon this exhibition of meanness and tackiness.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:33 PM on July 9, 2011 [6 favorites]

If it's a big party you don't do that. If it's a small party, half a dozen or less, there can be valid reasons but it's still to be avoided.
If they invited your SO and specifically uninvited you, they are classless jerks and who wants to party with classless jerks?
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 12:34 PM on July 9, 2011

Yep - no way to 'uninvite' someone from a party especially if you purposefully invited their SO.

But on the flip side - at least you now know that this person doesn't like you.
posted by missmagenta at 12:34 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

The only way I can see this being ok is if it was a baby shower, or gender-specific party where girls are invited but guys aren't.
posted by katypickle at 12:36 PM on July 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

Rude and graceless things are only excusable in extreme circumstances. For example, if this person found out you liked to torture puppies or post racist screeds on postboards in your spare time, then it would be rude and graceless to uninvite you, but IMHO still acceptable.

I am guessing that this is not over torturing puppies, however, and something much more subtle and personal, since you didn't even know until they told you.

On the other hand, I would look at the bright side to avoid letting this get to you too much. I would not want to be a party where the host didn't like me, so you avoided one shitty thing.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 12:40 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: They told me "you're not a close enough friend," but given it's a party of about 60-70 people and there are definitely invitees who are only loose acquaintances so I'm pretty sure they just don't like me. My SO will not be attending.
posted by Hey nonny nonny mouse at 12:40 PM on July 9, 2011

I guess I should clarify that this just happened to me, and while I'm pretty hurt I'm wondering if there's any way the host could have handled this

You're saying that in this question, you're actually the one who was uninvited? Sorry to hear that - that was pretty crappy of the host. This person shouldn't be offended if your romantic partner decides not to go either. I think the only way to really handle it would be to cancel the party and then to reschedule it, being a little more careful about who you invite next time.

Also, generally anyone invited to a big party is also welcome to bring their romantic partner, so unless it's made clear that only the specifically invited people are invited, not any friends or significant others, you could've legitimately shown up anyway.
posted by wondermouse at 12:43 PM on July 9, 2011

They told me "you're not a close enough friend," but given it's a party of about 60-70 people and there are definitely invitees who are only loose acquaintances so I'm pretty sure they just don't like me. My SO will not be attending.

This is a very strange situation, avoid these cliquey fucks like the plague. You simply cannot uninvite someone unless they have some major issues, and by major issues I mean like, steals/addict/always shows up drunk before they arrive. And then you don't invite the SO either.

Unless this was a club or organization that was having a private function, and I can kind of see this as I know a couple of people who did theater stuff and wanted a close no-partners/no-hanger on post-party ... but then you're not really uninviting you're simply saying, "Hey I know you'll understand but this is just for people who actually did X."

In any case, it sounds like these people are dicks. There's better way to put it. You don't uninvite people.
posted by geoff. at 12:46 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

This person sounds like a total jerk. I'm a people pleaser, and I tend to want people to like me even if I don't like them, so I understand why you're hurt. But seriously. This person is an asshole. You are better off not being friends with assholes.
posted by craichead at 12:48 PM on July 9, 2011

Mod note: Comment removed - please ask sincere AskMe questions about what is actually going on, not this sort of roundabout thing with a "reveal" later, thanks. Metadiscussion can go to MetaTalk
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:52 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Sorry, it was a sincere question but I thought if I framed the question as "Wah wah I got uninvited" it would look like I was looking for a pity party. It is walking a fine line as it is.
posted by Hey nonny nonny mouse at 12:54 PM on July 9, 2011

Let me get this straight, someone invited your SO to a party and expected you not to come? If that is the case it is extremely bad, even strange, behaviour on their part. No, you can't uninvite, and if you invite someone you invite their SO too.
posted by Cosine at 12:57 PM on July 9, 2011

No, you cannot uninvite someone to a party unless you uncover evidence that they've committed a serious crime inbetween the invitation and the party.

The way to avoid these situations is to keep track of who you're inviting and who you aren't. From the sounds of things, you didn't in fact invite this person, you invited their partner. Since you were inviting their partner you should have invited them because couples are supposed to be invited together. You can't assume that by inviting one person you've automatically invited the other. So now you're in a position where the only polite thing to do is actually invite them, when what you really wanted to do was anti-invite them.

But if it's the kind of event where you're just inviting people en masse to the extent you don't even know you've done it, the person you don't like will just get lost in the crowd, and you can probably get through one evening without any problems, can't you?
posted by tel3path at 1:02 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

The only thing I can think of is to create an alternative for the person who then regrets herself and goes to the other event.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:08 PM on July 9, 2011

Were they unacceptably rude to uninvite you? Yes, entirely. Having extended the accidental invitation, the only polite thing to do is to pretend like they meant it all along. The only possible exception is if they had accidentally invited literally more people than they had seats or beds for -- something where the maximum number of allowable people is outside their control.

Nor is it ever really polite to exclude an invitee's SO from a general gathering (obviously Bridal Showers, Office parties, etc may be exceptions).

Did they add more insult to injury by not uninviting you in a polite way? I don't think so. There is no polite way. They've shown themselves to be an ass, and you can't do that without showing yourself to be an ass.

On the bright side you now that this person is not at all your friend, and you now know that your SO has your back by refusing to attend either.
posted by tyllwin at 1:08 PM on July 9, 2011

What they did to you was unequivocally rude. It was also really douchey. Don't hang out with these people anymore.

My partner is often invited to things that I am not explicitly invited to, but these things are work-related things; I would be welcome, but it's not assumed that I'm jumping at the chance to come to a meet-and-greet with a candidate for office. If one of her work-type friends throws a regular old party, then it's absolutely assumed that I'll come too if they invite her.
posted by rtha at 1:23 PM on July 9, 2011

They told me "you're not a close enough friend," but given it's a party of about 60-70 people and there are definitely invitees who are only loose acquaintances so I'm pretty sure they just don't like me. My SO will not be attending.

This is just all kinds of crazy rude on top of crazy rude. Uh, I'm not usually one to leap to the more complicated or paranoid explanation, but if I were you, I'd wonder if the "accidental" invite was an excuse for the even-more-insulting "uninviting."

Doesn't it kinda sound like the sort of aggressive-passive-aggressive roundabout thing that might get cooked up in AskMe as a response to "how can I let this person know that I don't like them without actually straight-up telling them that I don't like them?"
posted by desuetude at 1:32 PM on July 9, 2011

If the host had that much of a problem with you, I doubt you'd have been invited in the first place.

Try to think of someone else who's attending who may dislike you. Chances are, such a person prevailed upon the host to disinvite you.

You might understandably have an impulse to conceal this incident as shameful from the people you know, but I urge you very strongly to tell everybody who'll listen. You will feel much better about it in the long run, and this host richly deserves the damage to their reputation which will ensue.
posted by jamjam at 1:32 PM on July 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

On re/overthinking, this sounds like straightup Mean Girls bullshit. Either you're all in high school or the inviter is mentally stuck in that zone and deliberately trying to put you in your place.
People like that, the important thing to remember is that power trips like this only work within fairly small groups. "your place" is in the bigger world where petty little fish like that do. not. matter.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 1:53 PM on July 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm going to pretend you're asking the question you actually asked: how to tactfully uninvite a party guest you don't like. Personally, I would do this by advertising that my party is not one that guest would want to attend. If the guest is vegan, I might loudly announce that a pig roast will be central to the festivities. If the guest has a particularly-disliked ex, I might suggest that the party will include a birthday celebration for that ex's new romantic interest. You can't gracefully tell someone not to come to a party, but you can imply that they might not enjoy themselves if they did come.
posted by milk white peacock at 1:59 PM on July 9, 2011 [7 favorites]

There is no way to "gracefully" uninvite someone in this scenario. It's impossible to say if it's "acceptable" because that depends on who gets to decide. Certainly no one has to let anyone they don't want be at their private party.
posted by J. Wilson at 2:14 PM on July 9, 2011

Yup, another agreement that there is no good or nice way to do this as this is not a good or nice thing to do, and it's pretty ridiculous that they thought they could invite your SO but not you. Lame. I think you & your SO should plan a fantastic day and evening out on the day of the party to celebrate not having to hang out with an Olympic-level jerk.
posted by smirkette at 2:53 PM on July 9, 2011

I've had people in my life who have pulled crap like this and I can unequivocally say that my life is a lot happier now that their involvement in my life is limited to the past tense.

The *only* way this would make sense would be for a single-gender event, but baby showers and such aren't even single-gendered all the time anymore and usually involve much more formal planning than a mass FB invite. This is just a flat out dick move.
posted by sonika at 4:11 PM on July 9, 2011

Was this party a wedding? That's the only kind of party I can think of where the guest list might be 60-70 but still tightly controlled. Even so, it's very rude to uninvite you once you've been invited.
posted by *becca* at 6:14 PM on July 9, 2011

I'm thinking the same thing as *becca*: Weddings, because of budgeting & the politics generally involved in the guest lists, can become a hairy mess in which list paring becomes obligatory. Ideally that happens BEFORE invitations go out, but hijinks has been known to ensue. In such a case, the host/hostess must grit one teeth and do the ugly deed of disinviting. The disinvitee can be gracious & assume it was for reasons other than preference (eg, soon to be MOL just announced that Great Aunt Susie's 16 nieces HAD to be included or the war of attrition begins today), or, well, the disinvitee can assume the worst. Disinvites can be done kindly or cruelly, but there simply aren't "nice" ways to do them. If it was a wedding, I'd temper your reaction based on how the deed was done.
posted by Ys at 6:40 PM on July 9, 2011

Considering the invite was based on a facebook group, I very much doubt it was a wedding.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 8:04 PM on July 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

i don't see any clear reason why you were uninvited. i see some speculation on your part but all i really see is you guessing as to what their intent was. you can't know the reason without asking and trying to guess the answer is simply a fruitless exercise that will most likely simply make you feel bad. maybe they cancelled you because the room only holds 50, or they have only so much beer or any other of a hundred reasons. maybe some of those other people who aren't that close are also going to be uninvited.

so don't try to figure out their motives on your own. you can't do it. just go bowling instead and have a good time.
posted by lester at 10:05 PM on July 9, 2011

To answer the question, you can uninvite someone only under the following circumstances:

1. There is a really good, socially acceptable reason why the person would not fit into the party that indicates that inviting them was really truly a mistake. A gender divide for example. I once disinvited someone from a dinner that for people who hadn't managed to come to a party I'd had the week before. I accidently sent the email to someone who had been to the party. As the email was essentially the same as the party invite, but with a sentence at the top saying, "as you can't make it to the party, please do come to this dinner instead", it was pretty obvious that I hadn't meant to send it to the person who'd RSVP'd that they'd come to the party.
2. You apologise profusely and preferably make a date to catch up with them at another time.

So yeah, that friend is not your friend.
posted by kjs4 at 6:40 PM on July 10, 2011

Ok, i've buggered up the tenses in point 1. Suffice to say, uninviting someone is incredible impolite, should only be done in extreme situations, and then a sincere attempt should be made to demonstrate that you do like the person by inviting them immediately to something else. Preferably something better.
posted by kjs4 at 6:43 PM on July 10, 2011

Ugh, this happened to me once. It's a horrible feeling. I'm sorry.
When it happened to me, it was because another guest insisted that he wouldn't come if I did. It seems to me like that makes the most sense here... if they'd invited your SO they probably DID intend to invite you, too.
posted by smoakes at 7:01 PM on July 10, 2011

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