• Keeping Friends

How do I tell a friend that she can’t invite herself?

Published: January 12, 2016 | By | 6 Replies Continue Reading
What do you do when a friend decides to invite herself and you don’t want her there?


Hi Irene, 

I have a friend from my hometown who is renting a place where we spend the winters in Florida. I also have a friend from Canada who is renting a place nearby.

My Canadian friend invited me over to spend an afternoon. When my hometown friend found out, she suggested she would like to join us (inviting herself).

I really would like to have some one-on-one time with my Canadian friend as I don’t see her but two months out of the year. I didn’t say anything to my friend from my hometown. How do I handle this situation? Thank you for any advice you can provide me.

Signed, Paula


Hi Paula,

Yes, it was in bad taste for your friend to invite herself. I guess you could tell her the truth: that you only get together with your Canadian friend occasionally and want to have some alone time with her. Moreover, you can point out that you wouldn’t feel comfortable extending an invitation to someone else’s home.

You might also offer to schedule a one-on-one get-together with your hometown friend.

If she is a good friend, she will understand and not take it personally. Hopefully, she’ll realize, too, that she may have overstepped her bounds.

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene

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Category: Creating and maintaining boundaries, KEEPING FRIENDS

Comments (6)

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  1. Judge Judy says:

    I find that the people who do this sort of boundary pushing usually tend to do it frequently. It’s like they’re used to throwing polite people off-guard with their own unexpected impoliteness to get whatever they want, straight up manipulation. So, I’d be interested to know if the friend who invited herself has done similar things before.

    Anyway, I wouldn’t knock myself out thinking of how to maneuver around her. If she’s the type I’m talking about, she’ll notice if you’re tap-dancing around her and love the power and probably just get pushier.

    So, either ignore her statement in the same way you would if someone passed gas, or tell her, No, sorry but that’s my and her time together. Resist the urge to explain or answer attempts to argue with you. Just don’t open your mouth again. Stare at her if you want, or get busy doing something else or cut her off to talk about something else every time she starts up again. Let her pushiness thud on the ground where she drops it, don’t pick it up for her. The thing is, after you get used to this, it’s kind of fun, lol. Don’t let her push you around!

    Ahem. It’s also possible that she just misspoke this once but it is still overstepping and no reason you can’t just nicely say no.

    Please let us know how it goes and good luck.

  2. Salstarat says:

    How did your hometown friend find out about your visiting Canadian friend? The best solution is not to tell your hometown friend when your Canadian friend is visiting and/or arrange to meet your Canadian friend at another location where you can have some one on one quality time with her. You are under no obligation to tell your hometown friend every detail of your personal life and you are entitled to spend time with OTHER friends without being under some strange pressure to include your hometown friend in every aspect of your life. I wouldn’t risk the chance of offending your hometown friend by mentioning that you don’t want to include her in some activity with your Canadian friend – just DON’T MENTION IT and make discreet plans to meet your other friends in a third location. Sometimes trying to explain in a “kind” manner that you want to exclude a person just comes across as demeaning and patronising – don’t do it! What she doesn’t know, won’t hurt her.

  3. lottie says:

    Hello Martha,

    Hmmm dodgy really. I don’t entirely agree with Irene. Your friend is being friendly because that is what she is your friend. To exclude her from everything to me would be down right mean.

    I have heard the “if she was a good friend she would understand” so many times. It works both ways.It is used as an excuse to get out of doing something or for excluding someone.

    For me I would be gentle in what I say. For instance rather than totally excluding your regular friend I would make a lunch or supper at your place and introduce the two friends. Your regular friend will of course accept and then in the kindest way mention during the lunch that you and the out of town friend are doing some things together like catching up on chit chat from the last time you met.Let your visiting friend mention as well what you plan to do.

    Good friends are to be nurtured and like wise.Be kind and she will understand. Have a lovely time. Best wishes. Lottie

  4. Amy F says:

    “I’m sorry, Martha and I were looking forward to some one -to-one time.”

    Friendship doesn’t require social invitations 100% percent of the time. Socializing with others is healthy. Having boundaries is good for relationships, because it allows for individualization and prevents the relationship from becoming one of obligation. Your friend owes you the respect of respecting your boundaries, especially when you state those limits in a kind and empathic manner.

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