Is it weird for someone to ask me to change the date of my party?
April 20, 2016 4:24 PM   Subscribe

I have close friends who, when they can't make it to a social occasion I'm planning, invariably ask me to change the date so they can come. I think it's bizarre for them to suggest- either come or not, but I can't reorganize everything for all the other people who have already RSVP'ed yes, for one person. Is this a normal/appropriate/common thing to ask?

It's not something that makes me mad- these are people who genuinely do want to attend. But it is a little annoying- it would never occur to me to say to someone, "Hey ______, can you reschedule your birthday/engagement/random party to Sunday instead?"
posted by BuddhaInABucket to Human Relations (56 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 4:25 PM on April 20, 2016 [14 favorites]

It depends on the context. If it's a small party, sure I'll ask. If it's obvious that you've invited your entire Facebook friend list, I won't ask. I think you're coming up against that old ask vs. guess thing again - I guess I don't see what the big deal is in asking - you're free to say no.
posted by peacheater at 4:31 PM on April 20, 2016 [7 favorites]

To me, it depends on what kind of social occasion it is - the more casual it is, the less weird I'd find it.
posted by sm1tten at 4:32 PM on April 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

Yes, it's weird. But I agree that this is ask v. guess. This is not something I would ever do, and I would be horrified if someone asked it of me.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:32 PM on April 20, 2016 [15 favorites]

Is it normal? No. Is it weird? No. Especially if they're really close friends, it should be assumed that they're asking you to change it if you really want them to be there. You, of course, can feel free to say no.

Think of it as a spectrum. On one end, if you were to invite your closest family member to the most important event ever, like a wedding, and they couldn't make it, wouldn't you want them to ask you to move it rather than just saying no?

On the other end, if it's an acquaintance invited to an inconsequential party, then them asking is probably out of the bounds of your relationship. If they're really close friends I would think they fall closer the former end of the spectrum.
posted by thewumpusisdead at 4:35 PM on April 20, 2016 [8 favorites]

Yeah -- it seems size-dependent whether or not this is weird. However, I personally would never ask someone to reschedule their party. This may be because I don't like parties and I'm almost never disappointed if I can't attend.
posted by sonyaellenmann at 4:35 PM on April 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

I think it's a little odd but within the range of "normal" as long as your constant "Nope that won't be possible" responses aren't met with any sort of friction. Like if it was a six person dinner party and they were one of three couples? I'd say it was pretty normal. If it's a birthday party for someone else? Pretty weird.
posted by jessamyn at 4:43 PM on April 20, 2016 [15 favorites]

It's fucking bizarre unless the party is just them and you. If you can't make it to a gathering then you send your regrets. The end.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:43 PM on April 20, 2016 [79 favorites]

It's really not okay to ask. Your friends were reared in a barn.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:49 PM on April 20, 2016 [45 favorites]

Sorry, this is rude unless the party is for them.

This is a thing that's reasonable to do *occasionally* - not every time - for book club or Bunco or "hey, what if we all went to the zoo this weekend?" but no, it is not okay for a person to ask you to move your birthday party to accommodate them.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:51 PM on April 20, 2016 [16 favorites]

Depends on the party, in my opinion.

If it's a small dinner party or a casual thing, and it's not celebrating any particular occasion, sure, it's completely fine to ask if you could move it to Saturday, or next weekend, or whatever. They may be assuming that they're a high proportion of your potential guests, and that you specifically invited them because you want to spend time with *them*, not just throw a dinner party for whoever can come.

I've definitely experienced a grey area with gatherings with only a small number of friends -- especially if it's a regular thing done with a specific set of people -- where there's a question of do you press on without the people who can't make it this time or reschedule it.

If it's a larger event, or anything marking a fixed occasion (Passover, your birthday, a Game Of Thrones viewing party), then yes, this is inappropriate. But you can say, "Sorry, that won't be possible," with no guilt because it's true that rescheduling won't be possible.
posted by Sara C. at 4:51 PM on April 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

Yes, it is weird. If you were all making plans together, they could offer input. Asking to move a party for which you chose a specific date for a specific reason, at the expense of everyone else who already can make it, is galling in its self-centeredness.
posted by ejs at 4:52 PM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

I think it's weird and kind of rude.
posted by latkes at 4:56 PM on April 20, 2016 [7 favorites]

Super weird and rude, in my book, unless it is just you and them.
posted by Stacey at 5:01 PM on April 20, 2016 [8 favorites]

I don't think I would ever feel comfortable asking people to switch the date, but I know when planning social gatherings I have checked with a few of my closest friends to confirm they can attend before setting the date. So maybe it isn't quite as weird as it seems, depending on the context.
posted by lucy.jakobs at 5:01 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think it's weird, too. If I were in your friend's position, I would RSVP no and explain why. If the host wants to switch the date because it's a really small/low-key get together, great! But I would never expect for them to change a date for me, one guest.
posted by Pearl928 at 5:04 PM on April 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

I often invite just one other couple to my house, and it doesn't really matter to me if they come on Friday or Saturday or Sunday, but on the other hand, if no one proposes a day then nothing happens! So in this case, I'd prefer it if they ask to change it if they can't make the original date!

If it's a big dinner party with lots of people then it's weird to ask, sure, but do they know it's such a party?
posted by leahwrenn at 5:04 PM on April 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

I've got a group of friends that meets about once a month and 1/3 of these are for birthday dinners (there are 4 of us). We will canvass dates for all such meetings, but even then one of us may not be able to make it. So if you are in the planning phase it is somewhat understandable to change the date but once the date is set it is set. At that point their options are to attend or not.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 5:05 PM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

If I'm thinking of having a thing, I usually send out some dates to my close friends to see which date works best for the most people (or the people I most want there). My close friends also do this. It would be weird for one of us to schedule a get together without first talking to the others about conflicts (unless it's something where we have little choice in scheduling like a charity event or a third party's bday). I'd be a little miffed if my good friend planned a random party without first seeing when I was free (but that's also because checking first is the norm in our group).
posted by melissasaurus at 5:05 PM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

I know two people like this -- each from quite different parts of my life. They're all in until they realise that they can't make it and then it's all "OMG I would absolutely love to be there but I can't that day and is there any way you could change the date and then I could absolutely be there and... etc. etc."

I love them dearly and they're people I want in my life. I used to twist myself in knots about it but I've come to understand that for these specific people it's a way of saying "I love you and I really want to be there for you so can you please make it possible for me to do that".

The first bit is lovely, the second bit not so much because it values their time and effort over mine, at a time when, actually, it is about me. Sometimes I wonder if it's a way for them to feel better about turning down the invitation.

So in my experience, it is a certain type of person who behaves like this and it is weird but I've learned to be really nice but firm because I'm not bending over backwards for someone who won't do the same for me, particularly because they can be so flaky.

In cases where they do bring up the change of date I've learned to firmly and nicely say "thank you, I know you really want to be there, and we will miss your company, but this is the way it is".
posted by prettypretty at 5:14 PM on April 20, 2016 [4 favorites]

People never fail to astound me. I had a party once, with people invited from all over, with months in advance notice. My friends from Singapore asked if I could change the date to coincide with their school holidays, so they could fit in a few more days off. My sister informed me that though nothing was scheduled yet, her husband might want to take her away that weekend so if he happened to book something on that date they wouldn't be able to make it. My producer at work asked me to reschedule it because it might clash with a commercial I had to go off and shoot around that date. This party? MY WEDDING. Yep, all of these people thought fit to tell me to reschedule myself and 120 other people around their personal wants. So yes, weird and rude, but you'd be surprised how many are. If they can't make it to your party, screw 'em.
posted by Jubey at 5:27 PM on April 20, 2016 [42 favorites]

Just to be clear, there's no way on earth I would ask someone if they could reschedule a wedding or a birthday party. The scenario I was referring to above with a small party is something like six people max, at a dinner party.
posted by peacheater at 5:29 PM on April 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

This person sounds like a boundary pusher. Do they push your boundaries in other ways?

I have "friends" who seem to view any get-together that I initiate with them, whether one-on-one or with a small crowd or even with a large crowd, as a way to push my boundaries and exert some kind of weird control or - oh, who knows why they do it, but it's inevitable. Note that I put friends in quotes up there - these people I speak of aren't acting very friendly, are they? And the person about whom you wrote this question sure isn't either.
posted by sockermom at 5:42 PM on April 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

It's wierd that it came up more than once (invariably). This is a story about your friends.
posted by fixedgear at 5:44 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

If it was a casual picnic or a dinner with only 4 or 5 people, I might ask.

But a party? That seems a bit much to ask.

Of course, you can (and probably should) just say "No, sorry. Hope you can make it next time!".
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:49 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think this is incredibly rude, and I'm absolutely shocked that anyone thinks it's OK. If you were asking one couple to say, go out to dinner with you Friday and they said they can't make it Friday, but can Saturday, that's one thing. But this is a party with multiple people invited. I have an annual party where I consider a few of my friends "essential." I set the date around their schedules. If having these people there is important to you, you can do that. But once you've set a date, that should be it. You're inviting them to a party at a specific time and date - not whenever they can make it. You've already set the terms. They don't get to ask you to change.
posted by FencingGal at 5:54 PM on April 20, 2016 [7 favorites]

It is weird, yes. I grew up with Emily Post, and that kind of response would have been met with, "So sorry we won't see you." or some such.

In no case would the host be expected to move their date for the invitees. This is not done.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:00 PM on April 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

Ok lots of good discussion, you need some bad advice.

So agree to change the date, but realize that your house is being fumigated that day so we'll hold the party at yours, ok! Oh and will you make chile for a few dozen of "our" friends and hors d'oeuvres, you'll bring mixers but be sure to stock up on top grade scotch. and extra gin and vodka. Oh and you're crazy uncle Luke is coming but that fumigation, can he stay in your guest room with his buddies? Great (oh btw hide matches while they're there). Oh and stock up on the pancakes for the stay overs.
posted by sammyo at 6:17 PM on April 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

This is rude and also weird. For a party? Unless it's being thrown in their honor? Then okay, but otherwise it's weird.
posted by mgar at 6:19 PM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

I wonder if what's going through their minds is less "hopefully they'll move this party to a more convenient date for me" and more "I can't attend, but I want to make absolutely clear that I genuinely have a conflict with that specific timing and am, in no way, snubbing them or deliberately avoiding their event."
posted by kickingtheground at 6:22 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is rude. The examples you gave--birthday party, engagement party-- are not the ambiguous situations others are bringing up (book clubs, small standing weekend hangouts, etc.)

This would strike me as manipulative, too, because instead of having to reject an invitation you extended, they put the onus BACK on you to reject THEM. Ugh!
posted by kapers at 6:27 PM on April 20, 2016 [11 favorites]

Agree with the majority here. It's rude. Not weird to ask if it's a casual dinner night with friends but for something like a birthday or an engagement party it's edging into very rude.
posted by Wretch729 at 6:37 PM on April 20, 2016

(and for the record I am very much an "ask" person)
posted by Wretch729 at 6:37 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Not only is it weird, but in my experience people who make that request actually don't show up on the date that they asked you to reschedule for. Try it as an experiment!
posted by chickenmagazine at 6:38 PM on April 20, 2016 [8 favorites]

If this is happening a lot (and it's not a formal affair), maybe consider how you might make event-scheduling a more inclusive process? Doodle is super useful for this.
posted by thejoshu at 6:50 PM on April 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

Unspeakably rude and my jimmies are rustled even considering it.
posted by Justinian at 6:53 PM on April 20, 2016 [10 favorites]

No way in hell. I have never ever experienced this. To me it is unthinkable. I mean, I guess it's nice that they would really like to spend time with you...on their terms. If this even happened to me once I would be taken aback and dismiss it as a one-off. But to happen repeatedly? Hell no. Is there some narcissistic trait in these people or do you believe that it is general cluelessness? Have you ever given in or do they just keep asking anyways?

I'd want to laugh in someone's face if they asked me this. It is beyond rude. Unless maybe it is a reoccurring social event where several couples get together and, I guess I dunno what.
posted by futz at 6:58 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's super rude. Just NO. Not okay. If you were meeting another person to go to a movie and needed to go to a later showing - that's casual and workable. BUT gatherings where invitations (and I don't even care if it's a facebook invitation) have gone out - you set the date. Your invitee who can't get their schedule together does not get to set the date for YOUR event. Fuck that, just NO.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 7:05 PM on April 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

I could only see this as not being rude if it was simply brought up in casual conversation that you were thinking of (Saturday) for the party, like it wasn't formally advertised yet, and they say "Oh we'd love to come but have X that day, would (Sunday) be possible?" For planning events such as my wedding, birthday parties and the like, I talk about possible dates with critical guests before formally setting it.

But once it's set and everyone's been invited? Not cool.
posted by lizbunny at 7:07 PM on April 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

The closest I can come to this being okay is something along the lines of:

Me: Hey I'm thinking of Doing A Party in 3 weeks, on the 18th, what do you think?

Them: Oh! You know that's the day of the Fundraiser Event for which 2/3 of your friends are volunteering, right?

Me: Oh! Thanks! Maybe the 19th then!

^^^ this happens a lot in my circle, at the planning stage. But at the point when you're getting RSVPs back?? Wow.
posted by Lou Stuells at 7:16 PM on April 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

Are you regularly asking these friends to get togethers that they are never able to attend for reasons you should be expected to know about, being a close friend? Is your preferred date/time for social occasions incompatible with their usual work schedule/religious observation/medical treatment/family care obligations?

Yes, it's technically rude to ask to schedule around them, and definitely rude to ask someone to reschedule a life event type party. But a close friend used to schedule random casual parties regularly in conflict with my work schedule and it's awkward to have to decline every invitation, and he would lay on a guilt trip about never attending his casual parties. I don't know if there was any good response besides "I would come if you held it on date/time I could actually attend.". I didn't want to give the impression I didn't want to go, I just couldn't. Ever. (Eventually he finished grad school and scheduled events when people with jobs could show up.)
posted by sputzie at 7:18 PM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

This is not ok, but strikes me as something you can shrug, ignore and be amused by, rather than something you should get upset by.
posted by OrangeDisk at 7:20 PM on April 20, 2016 [4 favorites]

Unusual? Yes. Rude? Meh...I don't know. Seems more like social cluelessness than anything else. Just say "no, sorry" and move on.
posted by david1230 at 7:26 PM on April 20, 2016

Rude! Also a perfect opportunity for one of my favorite phrases: "That isn't going to work for me." with a side of "...bummer you can't make it." added at the end.

I'm totally having PTSD in this ask even though this has never happened to me (*yet*) because I totally have "those friends" that would do this and then be butthurt when the even wasn't re-planned to their convenience (or planned to their convenience to begin with!).
posted by CoffeeHikeNapWine at 8:04 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think it's a little rude for your friends to do this, especially consistently. But if they're really close friends, and they really never can make the times you're scheduling, you might consider asking them what dates work well for them first, before you're at the stage of getting RSVPs.

I would be a little miffed if close friends of mine were always scheduling things at times I couldn't make it and never seemed to bother to ask first to find a time I could. At least, it would be a sign to me that maybe they weren't as close of friends as I thought they were. So I wonder if any of that dynamic might be going on.
posted by forza at 10:03 PM on April 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

Rude, but not unusual.

I've had a potential restaurant venue ask me to change the date of my wedding to a day more convenient to them! Mindboggling!

My advice is, don't ever reschedule for them, even if it would be easy to do. Because that way you'll be training them to expect that their time is more valuable than yours, and that your imvitations are always negotiable. I wonder if that's why they keep asking you, because you complied at some point?
posted by Omnomnom at 12:13 AM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Why do so many people take offense so quickly! It may be weird (we don't know context, as others point out, it is dependent on size of party, closeness of relationship and how "formal" the invite is), but it's not straight-up rude.

Rude is calling and insisting that the other party must MUST change their party plans to fit their own plans. Rude is not asking that the party date to be changed. That's social cluenesses.

Just be like eh whatevs and reply however you want to reply.

The world will be all for the better if people stop being so ever prickly about imagined social infractions (which are highly context-dependent and change all the time anyway!)
posted by moiraine at 2:46 AM on April 21, 2016 [4 favorites]

Yeah, I'm in the "it's a bit weird but not rude" camp. People probably just want to signal that they'd love to be at your party and that their schedule and not you are the reason they won't be there.
posted by dominik at 3:12 AM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Points in their favor making this less rude:
-they are "close friends"
-they genuinely want to make it
-they can never make it

Points in your favor making this more rude:
-these are parties with formal RSVPs/invitations
-they "invariably ask."
-these are relatively large parties

I sense conflict here. I am inclined to say they're rude and you're overstating how "close" of friends they really are. Are you talking about a couple? Or more than one individual friend? If you have more than one individual friend in your life who "invariably" does this, that's pretty statistically freakish, I would say.
posted by quincunx at 3:45 AM on April 21, 2016

It is not polite, nor is it normal.

It's one thing to ask to rearrange something that's just you and them - as long as that's not overused or abused, it's fine.

It's another thing to ask you to rearrange an entire party around them. That's definitely rude and entitled. Who do they think they are, the guests of honor? Sheesh.
posted by tel3path at 5:07 AM on April 21, 2016

It sounds quite entitled. I wouldn't change the date. They're very lucky that you've been co-operating thus far.

I agree with Melissasaurus' idea, though. Ask when people are available before the date. They don't get to have everything changed after that.
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 5:37 AM on April 21, 2016

I think this is probably just their way of telling you that they really do want to come and celebrate with you. They most likely don't expect you to move everything, but they want you to know that the only reason they can't come is the date and otherwise they'd be there with bells on.
posted by mpbx at 5:40 AM on April 21, 2016

In my experience the same people who are rude and self-centered enough to ask for you to rearrange your life (and the lives of those who just RSVPd already) to suit them will also be the same people who will send you a text the afternoon of your event:


I was once encouraged to put on a little training event for a co-working space I was at. So after checking with a few people as to when would be a good time for the facility at large, I put out a FB event schedule in the closed group. Then here comes the guy with the public, helpful suggestions - hey I'm really interested in this but there is also %event on the same night and "a lot of us" might want to go to that, which has been scheduled for ages.

So thinking (a) the guy makes a somewhat valid point and (b) he's muddied the water by starting a public discussion about how we might have a conflict (and by the way, publicizing the event he was more interested in, which was admittedly larger)...

I make my fatal mistake, which is to start negotiating with the group about a good date.

It never ends. There is no bottom to it.

I finally find ANOTHER date and the guy who was so interested, of course, had another conflict.
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:23 AM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

My line to draw on this is: Have i set down the date in stone yet.

If i have made an event page/invited people/whatever to actually say "hey i'm doing this thing on this date" then it's out of line. If i was privately talking with them going "hey, i think i'm doing this on this date" and they propose another date(or location!) then it's not rude.

It basically, to me, depends on whether or not i had committed to a date.

On preview, Lou Stuells has the same take as me.

I cancelled my fucking birthday party this year because between the space i wanted to have it, several close friends, and my schedule there was no date i could propose that didn't create a tidal wave of this.

I know the correct move is to just go "lol sorry!" and accept that you'll always have some people bailing, but once that horse has left the barn you're hosed. And sometimes there really is someone you want to have there and want to accommodate. It's tough.
posted by emptythought at 1:55 PM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Just checking - a lot of times if people find out that they can't make an event someone else is hosting, they will teasingly or playfully request a date change. It's a 'cute' way of showing you that they wish they could make it, but they can't. Could that be happening here?
posted by jander03 at 6:20 PM on April 22, 2016

I just chimed in to say I once did acquiesce to such a request and regretted it.

The situation was an engagement party. Cousin visiting from out of country requested we move the date to specified weekend. We thought because of special circumstances we should move date. None of our friends could make the date suggested by cousin, it was on a bank holiday when most people go away. When we said to cousin see you in next week at small party her response was: "Oh no we're going to a reggae festival in [Hippytown] that weekend." Too late to change plans. No one came to our engagement party.

Therefore when the same cousin suggested we change our wedding date to accommodate her this was politely overlooked.

I decided that people who make such requests are inconsiderate and rude.

I suggest same applies here.
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 8:53 AM on May 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

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