Uninvited Guests

Do you have a friend who assumes he or she is invited to every dinner party or event you organize? This can be an incredibly awkward experience. Here's how to handle it

Adam Lowe
4-minute read
Episode #13

Today, we'll start with a listener question to address the topic of uninvited tagalongs and guests.  

Prerna writes:

"How do you deal with a friend who assumes that he is invited, invites himself, or is very pushy about trying to get you to invite him to an event where he is not welcome?"

Thank you for listening and for writing in with your question, Prerna.  I think this is an experience we've all had: the friend or acquaintance who is always inviting him or herself even when you give out many signs that it is not appropriate.  When you approach this problem, it's good to have an idea what you want the ultimate outcome to be.  Do you want to maintain the relationship, just with some more clear boundaries about when it's OK for your friend to join activities or give you space?  Or do you want to cool off or end the friendship?  Once you know this, you can take the next difficult steps in setting things straight.

The best and most polite thing to do is to be clear but respectful.  You are going to risk some hurt feelings and discomfort, but the ultimate result will be better.  If it is around a specific event, say a dinner you are having with a friend, you might say something like, "I know that you would like to see Samantha too, but it's been such a long time since she and I have had the chance to catch up, and we wanted to have a private dinner with just the two of us."  You could add, "Let's all get together next week for dinner," if it is truly something you would like to do, or you could say, "It would be nice if you and I could have a private get together too; sometimes I really miss the chance to sit down with someone one on one." 

Again, the basic principle is to be clear about what you want, and if you want to make signs or assurances that you wish to maintain a friendship with the self-inviter, you should do so.  This may also make your friend feel more comfortable and secure that you still like them and want to be with them even if they are not invited to every single event.