• Resolving Problems

Friendship: Uninvited on Thanksgiving

November 26, 2013 | By | 6 Replies Continue Reading
It’s very disappointing to be uninvited on Thanksgiving but don’t give up on a meaningful friendship because of one transgression.

QUESTION

Hello Irene,

I was invited to spend Thanksgiving at a good friend’s house. She is also my landlord. I rent a separate guesthouse on their property. I have been here three years now and in that time have developed a good, trusting relationship. Recently, my friend/landlord offered me to become part of her family, suggesting I could be an “Auntie.” I was touched and accepted her offer.

My situation is kind of unique…I am 50, an only child, and my immediate family has passed on. I do not have other friends locally, my close friends are out of state where I grew up. So here is where I need advice…

I just found out today that her Thanksgiving plans had changed and that she was going to her friend’s house for Thanksgiving instead of going with her original plans of hosting it at her home. I was not invited. I am pretty sure she knew of the changes sooner, however neglected to let me know. I found out I was uninvited only after emailing her yesterday to offer help with Thanksgiving at HER home. Instead, I got a reply today saying, “I’m so sorry.” That tells me I was not invited to her friend’s house. I feel hurt and disappointed as I was looking forward to it. Now I will be spending Thanksgiving alone.

Do you think my friend should have asked her friend if I could join her family despite not knowing them? I just feel it is disrespectful. I understand the situation has changed. But still…I feel it’s bad manners on my friend’s part. I don’t think her friend would have reason to not include me as well. I haven’t expressed my feelings to my friend yet.

Your thoughts?

Signed, Cathy

ANSWER

Hi Cathy,

Yes. Thanksgiving or not, it’s poor form to invite someone to a social event and then disinvite them without an apology and explanation. I’m sorry this happened to you and can understand how you would feel hurt and disappointed.

Even if your landlord’s plans changed, she should have let you know as soon as she knew. It would have been nice too, if she asked her other friend to make a seat for you at the table, especially since she’s been so effusive about the way she considers you part of the family. Perhaps, she did ask to include you and was rebuffed.

When we have no family or only very small families, it’s easy to get thrown by holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas that place such an emphasis on traditional family gatherings. Our minds wander and make us imagine that we are the only ones alone or living a different lifestyle. But there are many more people in situations like yours today than you might imagine. The American family has changed its complexion over the past decade with more people living single, unmarried, and childfree, and because our society is so mobile, many live long distances from family and friends.

It sounds like you have developed a nice relationship with your landlord and I wouldn’t dismiss it over this one transgression. Your landlord/friend probably is aware of what she’s done and she may well apologize after Thanksgiving Day. She probably feels awkward, too. I would wait and see what she has to say and if she says nothing, let her know you were disappointed but be forgiving.

Perhaps, this scenario points out that you shouldn’t make yourself totally dependent on this one friend, manage your expectations of her, and seek out other relationships. Being “friends” with a landlord or roommate can get complicated when problems occur.

In the meantime, figure out a Plan B for Thanksgiving Day. You can watch the parade on television and be thankful you aren’t out in the cold, eat a slice of pumpkin pie, take a warm bath, read a good book, or volunteer at a local soup kitchen or shelter. Thankfully, the day will come and go in less than 24 hours.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

*Just saw this: In the New York Times on the Changing American Family

Also on The Friendship Blog: Sharing a Thanksgiving Table with People You Don’t Like


Were you ever uninvited from an event or social occasion? How did you handle the situation?

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Category: Disappointing friends

Comments (6)

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  1. tara says:

    In the past, I have always been the first to send out cards – bdays, Christmas, New Year, Holidays, everyday cards. Also the first to send out gifts. Also the first one to call and greet. This year, I stopped doing that to who who’d care to initiate doing these things for me. Sad to say, out of the gazillion people I spend a thought on all these years, only 2 bothered to greet me this Christmas. I’m giving them the same treatment in the coming Christmases to come. I’m not getting bothered by those who don’t care about me. Sad to feel this way, but it’s better to spend time and effort to those around us who really do care.

    • tara says:

      ooops. i must have responded to a different thread. lol. uh oh. she has PTSD. please don’t take what happened personally. that was disrespectful to the infinite, but im sure something must have happened with her head/emotions. just don’t spend too much emotions on her. you don’t need the extra baggage in your life. this happened once and this should be the last. never plan any event with her if you don’t want to feel this way on holidays. she is troubled. stay out of it and live a stress-free life.

  2. Amy says:

    I’ve been in your same situation, and I’ve also spent a number of Thanksgivings alone. Irene is right, it’s only 24 hrs, unless you choose to carry the resentment in your heart. You weren’t uninvited for the holiday, your friend’s plans changed and they don’t include you. That hurts and it’s okay to feel bad. Your friend should have told you as soon as her plans changed. Maybe she didn’t think to, maybe she felt uncomfortable telling you and procrastinated. For whatever reason, she either didn’t ask or she asked and was told not to bring you. That’s unfortunate, but don’t allow her lapse to get in the way of what is otherwise a great relationship. People are imperfect. Relationships are imperfect.
    I do have plans for TG this year, but I don’t always. Volunteering to serve others is a lovely way to spend what might otherwise be a depressing day. Like you, I have no close relatives, just some (wonderful) 2nd cousins who live several states away. I consider my friends my family, but know they really aren’t, so I have to make sure I’m not relying too much on one person. In the past when I did that, my relationships were out of balance and unhealthy.
    Let this be an experience of growth for you. I hope you have a peaceful day.

    • Helen says:

      The best way to get over the disappointment of a friend letting you down is to volunteer to serve food at a homeless shelter and help others. It’s the best mood booster ever!

    • Susan says:

      Amy, thank you for your input. I appreciate it. After reflecting, I need to realize her situation, which is she suffers from PTSD and goes through bouts of depression and weird emotional stuff. I think too as a result, she “flakes out” and forgets. So it could have very well played a factor in this situation. Assuming it is at this point helps me in dealing with the hurt and disappointment. Aside from that, she is definitely a “keeper” friend, and I hold the upmost respect for her and her family.
      I’ve decided to not approach her with my feelings until after Thanksgiving and her relatives leave. But I will let her know in a respectful manner. True faithful friends require openness and honesty in order for them to flourish. Thanks again Amy. I hope you enjoy your day as well.

      • Amy says:

        Thank you, Susan. It’s so helpful for us to remember that we’re not the only ones who have “stuff”. I’ve been reminding myself of that for the past few days and I’ll probably need to do it tomorrow too!.

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