• Other Friendship Advice

Disappointed family excluded from a surprise party

Published: December 12, 2015 | By | 8 Replies Continue Reading
A sister is upset that she hasn’t been invited to a surprise party for her brother.


Hi Irene,

My sister and I have been excluded from my brother’s surprise party abroad. His friend who is organizing it is very much aware of the closeness and deep love and respect, which we hold for each other. We have always been there for each other and it breaks our hearts to know that we have been excluded.

Signed, Vanessa


Hi Vanessa,

People who make parties often have to make tough decisions and limit numbers of guests based on logistics, money or a number of other factors. Since the surprise party is being held abroad, the party thrower may have limited the party to people who live nearby. Or the party thrower might have wanted to keep it limited to a party of friends or co-workers as opposed to family.

I don’t know the occasion for the party or the friend’s relationship with your brother or the relationship between you and the partymaker, all of which might have some bearing on the decisions that have been made. Hopefully, you will be able to understand that the decision may not have been personal and you’ll try to be forgiving.

If there is a reason for celebrating your brother, figure out another time and way to show and celebrate your deep love and respect.

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene

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Comments (8)

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  1. Susan M. says:

    My friend of 40 years passed away in March. A couple of years ago, her daughter, and only living child, planned a wonderful surprise party for her 80th birthday. I live across the country, so I guess that is why I was not invited or told about the event. I don’t think it occurred to my friend’s daughter that I would have loved to send flowers for the table, or SOMETHING so that I could have been involved. I did not dwell on it, because I simply think it was an oversight. However, when my friend passed away, her daughter made sure to check out the date of her memorial service with me, to be sure I could get a flight, etc. If I had been aware of the party BEFORE it was held, I would have checked with my friend’s daughter. Maybe you should check in with the party planner.

  2. monique says:

    what utter sanctimoniousness.,, and so much”turn the other cheek” and , “Its not about you” holier-than-thou-ness it makes me want to throw up a little in my mouth. you know what the lot of the lonely ever is? to blame oneself and feel underdeserving of ever getting their fair share of attention and accord, and all those alphas and alpha hangers on know it. i had hopes this blog would be less scolding of the demographic it is purportedly trying to help.

    you know what a person with any normal self esteem does? they take the risk of making the person or persons responsible uncomfortable and ask them directly why they are being treated in such a thoughtless, cavalier way. the brother is being a passive-aggressive enabler to this if he pretends it isn’t a thing.people do not “accidentally” leave you out. its a conscious decision.
    c’est la vie…

  3. Maddie says:

    Dry up your tears. It was not in your locale. Be happy you have a brother. Throw your own party. Accept that outside parties will occur and you won’t be invited to all. Be thankful your brother has friends who love him. This is not about you.

  4. Jannie says:

    Good posts and answers although it’s a tricky one. I will keep it short, but I have a saying ” it’s always nice to be invited even if you can’t make it!” Most assumptions that I’ve encountered end up hurting someone’s feelings….. Just my thoughts. Enjoy your day and thank you for this forum……

  5. Amy F says:

    The only way to know why is to ask. Maybe they assumed you wouldn’t be able or couldn’t afford to travel abroad, that would be my assumption (if the party is abroad). If it’s a welcome home sometimes friends have special group dynamics that go back years and new people would change the dynamics. Perhaps the party was for friends and family wasn’t included in the invitations (that would be my guess). There are dozens of reasons for the exclusion. If you really want to go, call or email the hosts and and tell them you’d love to be included. I wouldn’t take this personally, the party is about your brother, not you.There’s probably a reason that makes sense to the hosts but not to you and while not being included feels hurtful and personal, it often isn’t. Plan your own special celebration for your brother.

  6. Melodie says:

    A similar situation recently happened among a group of women I’m friendly with. The husband of one of the women threw a surprise birthday for her, but he neglected to invite some of her favorite friends. He didn’t do this deliberately; he simply did not know ALL of the friends his wife would have wanted to invite to her party. One of the women was terribly hurt and blamed the “birthday girl” for the oversight, but that’s not fair. Bottom line, the birthday girl didn’t know about the party in advance, so of course she couldn’t help with the guest list. Maybe the situation is similar with your brother’s party?

  7. Ruth says:

    Try not to blame your brother for his friends behavior. They may not have asked him and presumed based on the distance that you’d never come. If later you found out he knew then I’d ask him as unemotionally as possible why you weren’t invited. He may have given in to peer pressure. You may never know the real reason but if you can ask without getting dramatic and teary then ask him so the subject is on the table. In the meantime celebrate in your own way, send him a card and pictures of you having fun, and genuinely be happy for him.

    Friends and siblings change as they grow up. Some grow closer and some further away. If he’s putting space between he and you, I know it’s hard but rest assured it’s a normal part of maturing. You will always be his sister and no one can change that.

    A Face to face heart to heart works wonders but don’t let your emotions blow it.

  8. Ben says:

    I wish I had at least one sister that felt that way about me that you do for your brother. My sister proved over a long period of time that she just doesn’t like me. I too feel slighted when excluded from events starting back in grade school not being picked for a team. At least your brother has not rejected you. I guess rejection is a universal sucky emotion…

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