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Inconsiderate Inconspicuous Invitations

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Have you ever been part of a conversation that resembles this one?

Friend: Hey – What are you doing Friday night?

With thoughts of an invitation for a couples dinner at a hip new restaurant or a fun girls night out, you reply:

Nothing. Why? What’s going on?

Friend: Excellent! My husband and I are going out to dinner with a few other couples and we’d love to drop the kids off at your house to play with your kids while we go out (OR We need someone to walk the new puppy  OR a designated driver OR a chauffeur for kids OR…).

Dumbfounded You : Uh. Uh. Uh.

Not-So-Much-of-a-Friend: Thanks. I’ll call you later this week with details. But we’re thinking we will drop the kids off at 6:30. We should be able to swing by to pick them up around 10:30 – unless of course you want them to sleep over. Might be fun for all the kids! Then we can get them in the morning after sleeping in and enjoying a quiet breakfast. This will be so nice for us. We haven’t had a night out in months.

Speechless and Still Dumbfounded You: Uh. Uh. Uh.

You’re left wondering, ‘What in the h*** just happened? Wait! WHAT am I now doing on Friday night? Oh yes. I said I had nothing going on, so now I’m watching three kids in addition to my own.’ As my tween would say, “You’ve been played!”

Sound familiar? It  happened to me when the kids were young and all of us parents were dying for a night out with our husbands at any restaurant that doesn’t serve kid meals.

For you it might be more in the form of an invitation to a happy hour, but when you arrive, you discover it’s much more than drinks, appetizers and conversation. And not in a good way. The host is selling their goods or services. BUT (yep- BIG BUT) they neglected to mention the details when they invited you for drinks. Or coffee. Or to meet some “really great people.” You might feel bombarded, betrayed and trapped.

Here’s the deal: make your intentions known.

Think of this as using your social turn-signal. Let others know your true intentions. They will respect your honesty. Over time, honesty builds trust: the foundation for all personal and professional relationships.  The words ‘bombarded,’ ‘betrayed’ and ‘trapped’ never have a positive connotative meaning. Give me all the information so I can make the best decisions for me and my time.  And if I’d rather talk to you over the phone to hear about this “amazing new opportunity” vs. getting together for coffee. Please respect the request. If you can’t tell me in an e-mail or on the phone and just have to meet with me, I might start to grow suspicious.

And for those of you wanting a friend to watch your kids/take your puppy for walks/chauffeur your kids during your fun Friday night out, please be considerate. Tell them up front what the request is and then kindly ask if they can help. E-mail is often best because it allows for time to think. No one likes being put on the spot. For those on the receiving side of these conversations, take control of your time and response! Don’t allow others to dictate your time. If you have to “check with the calendar” then do so, but considerately get back with an answer ASAP.

Use your social turn signals. Communicating intentions goes a long way!

Mind Your Manners,

Kelly

4 Comments
  1. What a great post Kelly! I’ve been in this situation more than a few times lately and I now ask for more info before giving a response.

    Bottom line is an invitation to an event to sell your wares is totally different than a social gathering – the host needs to be clear about which type the event is.

    Thanks Kelly!

    • Kelly

      Jeannine, thanks for reading and for sharing that this has happened to you several times. Unfortunately, it seems like a more and more common scenario. I completely don’t mind going to an event where I know that the host is selling their goods or services. I’m happy to support, but want to be able decide what and whom I support. But when the invitation is issued in disguise? That’s another story!

  2. Amen, Sisters! As a marketing (ahem…) professional, there is nothing that gets my goat more than “smoke and mirrors.” Let me know what the deal is so I can make an informed decision. Sometimes I like to buy (outrageously expensive) jewelry from a friend. Sometimes I don’t.

    • Kelly

      Well said Ms. Marketing Professional! Love the ‘smoke and mirrors” analogy! Thanks for reading Jeanne!

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