Invitations: Obligations or Reminders of Love

Why do we invite certain people to some parties and not others? Why do we even invite the people that we do invite? Obligation? Kindness? Do you even know why you keep inviting that crazy uncle that you have the vodka from?

There are simple answers. For example…

When having a child’s birthday party – an elementary age child – there are guidelines set by the school to be inclusive. If you are going to send invites to school, please send one for every child in the class.

So it’s easy to say why I invited 20 kids I don’t know, most of which my son doesn’t even talk about. ‘We wanted to be inclusive.’

First birthdays are pretty simple, too.

Invite people who have shared in the excitement over the past 18 months. (That’s from pregnancy announcement through the first year in case you thought I couldn’t count.)

But what about parties for holidays? Christmas, New Year, Memorial Day, Labor Day, even milestone birthdays.

My parents used to through huge parties. They had one in the summer and one for New Year’s Eve. The summer parties consisted of games – human checkers, relay races, hand cart races – sneaky punch and designated drivers. The New Year’s Eve parties had roulette and craps tables, swing dance lessons, arcade games and designated drivers. There were always so many people! How did they decide who to invite?

I remember them telling my brothers and me that we could invite whoever we wanted as long as our guests said hello to the hosts or, in the case of a first time meeting, were introduced to the hosts. My invite list varied from year to year depending on the boyfriend situation. But there were the few regulars because they are my closest friends. So, that’s easy… Why? Because I wanted to spend NYE with these friends.

Now, and for the past ‘a lot of’ years, I host my own parties. Why do I invite the people I invite? It’s still easy…

They are people I want to spend time with.

Admittedly, as the host, I don’t get to spend a lot of quality time with my guests but I get to chat with all of them.

Dear Husband and I disagree on the guest list sometimes but we have different reasons for including or not including people. I continue to invite people who I know have only a 5% chance of coming because 1. I want to see those people and 2. I want them to know that I want to see them. Unless someone tells me ‘For the love of pete! Please, stop inviting me! I don’t want to be included in your nonsense!’, I will continue to invite them. And I am not upset if they don’t come. Their reason for not coming is their reason, not mine. The flip side is also true. I don’t expect my RSVP of ‘no’ to be met with anger or abuse or an attempt at a guilt trip. My reason for not going is my reason; it’s not because of the host.

I am not offended or angered or miffed. I won’t hold a grudge. I might tease from time to time but I won’t be angry. (I actually have a first cousin, whom I adore, who couldn’t make it to my wedding! I tease him but I don’t hold it against him.)

I will admit that there are people I feel obligated to invite but it’s hard to have a big part and not invite Mom who lives next door. I’m kidding, of course! I like spending time with Mom, too.

I feel that life is too short to be upset or angry when someone declines an invitation or 50. It is also too short to not invite people I want to see.

I hope that you can find peace in your lives so invitations are sent and received with the intention of love and kindness. Always remember that I invite you with love and friendship. No strings. No obligations. No hidden message. I enjoy your company and your smiling face. I hope to see you at the next party. 🙂

Why do you invite the people you invite? And how do you handle the ‘no’ responses?


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