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Host etiquette regarding no-show guests?

What should the host do about no-show guests? I had a dinner party this past weekend where I invited 8 guests. One couple did not show up after they e-mailed to say they were coming. I have not heard from them at all, not even an e-mail saying why they couldn't make it.

I am a little annoyed as I did send out a reminder 3 days before the dinner party, so if they couldn't have made it for whatever reason they should have said something then. Should I e-mail and ask if everything is ok and subtly point out they were no-shows? Or should I just leave it and remind myself never to invite them again? They are not close friends but I have known for over a year and see them from time to time through a mutual couple.

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  1. well, personally if someone didnt end up in the hospital or jail, there is no excuse for this! Its arrogant, entitled and just plain crass. without a bail bonds reciept or a fresh IV wound, they would be off my list.

    1. I would send them email to tell them they were missed by all and ask them if they were ok that evening.

      1 Reply
      1. re: roadfix

        what he said, and depending on their reason I'd consider not inviting them again.

      2. Don't send an email. You don't know them well, and you'll be able to find out from your mutual friends if something catastrophic did indeed befall the no-shows. Just blacklist them forever, silently.

        3 Replies
        1. re: slacker

          I think I would send an email, more because I would be worried...one question, the reminder notice...did this couple respond?

          1. re: slacker

            I agree with you. I don't see what an email could accomplish, other than making them defensive. If there truly were an emergency that prevented them from attending, I imagine the host would have heard of it by now, either from teh mutual friends or from the missing guests themselves.

            1. re: Cachetes

              OOhh!!! Humans behaving very badly!! I agree with most peeps that shy of a car accident, premature labor, or somesuch catastrophe, the No-shows owed you a phone call, an explanation and an apology. Especially since they said they were coming AND you sent a reminder e-mail. Boors....

          2. I would still act like a host - call them to say you missed them and hope that everything was alright. Yes they acted poorly but they may have a legitimate reason and feel embarrassed.

            1 Reply
            1. re: scoopG

              This is a good response. Act like a good host and Email to ensure nothing was wrong and hope they are all OK. If that doesn't provoke a response from them, *then* write them off.

              If they are just acquaintances you see on occasion throughout a year, the OP might not have heard through the grapevine why they didn't/couldn't attend.

            2. Gosh, something like this happening would totally annoy me. I wouldn't invite them again.
              Think I would be tempted to email them but figure it would be better to just leave it, I don't like hounding people and in the end they were invited and didn't call/respond or make any contact to apologize or ANYTHING, it's their fault.

              1. You were treated very rudely. But that's no excuse for you to be impolite. Swallow your urge to find out more, and don't invite them again.

                1. Don't email. Call and say you missed them and hope that everything is all right. The reason I say don't email is that there is no inflection in written communication and anything you say may come across as hurt/mad/offensive.

                  I'm really surprised at the vehemence with which some of the other posters responded. While a no-show is rude and interrupts plans, no one person's life is any more important than another's. You never know what might have happened, and there's no reason to be impolite back.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: mojoeater

                    Modern culture is in a decline, civility wise. Unless there's a good reason for not showing, compounded by not having the good manners to call and apologize, then I think the louses need to be culled from the herd.

                    Blow them off as they did you.

                    1. re: bkhuna

                      Perhaps civility is in decline. But that's no reason to stoop to their level.

                      1. re: bkhuna

                        ~~Modern culture is in a decline, civility wise.~~

                        ~~Blow them off as they did you.~~

                        I suppose I agree with your first statement.

                      2. re: mojoeater

                        mojoeater - I agree completely. There might be a good reason, but they feel very awkward. If the call does not clear this up in an acceptable way for you, then there is no reason to include them in this type of future event.

                        1. re: mojoeater

                          I agree. We had a no show to our wedding, an old classmate of my husband's. We found out a few months later that the day of, his wife found out he had been cheating on her, big fight, apparently she broke her arm on his head and spent the day in the ER. Not something you want to call and explain on the phone, especially when it's your husband's friend and not something the friend wanted to talk about obviously. There are many reasons people don't show up so I wouldn't automatically assume it's about the host.

                        2. jfood espousing give them the benefit of the doubt theorum again. Call to see if they are OK. Then, hopefully it was just an oversight, and they will apologize. If they do not have a light bulb go off over their heads they are clueless.

                          1. I'm with mojoeater and jfood. Call and make sure they're ok. Otherwise, chalk it up to experience and don't worry about it going forward.

                            1. In old English parlance, leave it lie.
                              In contemporary southern idiom, tie 'em loose.

                              1. What does slightly peeve me is everyone agreed to the date as it was the only evening that the no-show couple said they could do! They didn't reply to my reminder from 3 days ago, but I wasn't too concerned because the wife had e-mailed me the week previous asking me to re-send directions to my house.

                                I will send them a quick e-mail saying everyone missed their company and that I hope everything/everyone is ok. I guess depending on their answer, I will decide whether or not to keep them on my future guest list...it's just sad how manners and etiquette doesn't seem to exist anymore...and this couple is a lot older than me!

                                11 Replies
                                1. re: SeoulQueen

                                  You know -- it IS possible that they just forgot, or got tied up, or just fogged out a bit. It has happened before. It is also possible that they mixed up the date, or worse, something awful happened. People make mistakes. I wouldn't condemn them forever. If there is a repeat performance the next time, then you have a pattern, but until then, you never know. Give them the benefit of the doubt and call or write to check on them -- whichever you are more comfortable with. I don't think e-mail is awful -- heck, it's better than IM.

                                  1. re: SeoulQueen

                                    Exactly what I would do....then if they just didnt show and didnt bother to call then by all means put them on the never invite again list! If they are older something may have happened and it would suck to have all this ill will if someone got really sick or something....I like to think of myself as a good guest but if there was an emergncy I dont know if I would think to call my dinner hosts....

                                    1. re: SeoulQueen

                                      "I will send them a quick e-mail"

                                      "it's just sad how manners and etiquette doesn't seem to exist anymore"

                                      Yeah, ain't it.

                                      Please pick up the phone and be personal instead of an insensitive bunch of bytes.

                                      1. re: jfood

                                        dont you defend *reasonable* cell phone use in public and
                                        find kneejerk anti-cell-phone-in-restos people unreasonable?
                                        [with which i agree]
                                        well who says a bunch of bytes has to be *insensitive*?

                                        a one line "wassup with the dinner flakage the other nite" might not be
                                        appropriate but a "hi, i'm dropping you an email about ... maybe you
                                        can reply when you have a moment" can be perfectly reasonable.

                                        for many many interactions i prefer email since i can reply in my own
                                        time, deliberate over my reply. we're not talking sending wedding invites
                                        by evite here. or an email saying "hey i heard you just had heart surgery".

                                        i realize there may be a generational/geographic component to this, but
                                        i dont think it's a categorical one.

                                        but i still maintain the real issue here is the high probability of the other
                                        party being an extreme flake/lamer. and that would be an operating assmption.

                                        1. re: psb

                                          "well who says a bunch of bytes has to be *insensitive*?" hopefully everyone. even your preamble to the email "hi, i'm dropping you an email" is an implicit apology for not having the common courtesy of a phone call versus a "let your fingers do the walking..."

                                          Maybe there is a generational/geographic component, who knows, but sending a txt or an email to someone who may have an issue is not the proper response. pick up the phone, whether cell, landline, at home or at a restaurant. Personal interaction should not be lost because of this so-called generational/geographic failure to communicate.

                                          1. re: jfood

                                            I disagree. More people text than call these days. I see nothing impersonal about it. Many of my friends carry on long intimate discussions via emails because it is convenient, timely, non-obtrusive, something they can deal with on their time, and readily available.

                                            1. re: jfood

                                              >preamble ... is an implicit apology
                                              that's like saying if i begin my phone call with "hey is this a good
                                              time..." i am acknowledging a phone call is an interruption on
                                              somebody's day and forcing them to talk to you on your schedule.
                                              and again the dominant issue here is it's a slight awkward situation
                                              and a phone call is more likely to put them on the spot ... and that's
                                              true in either the cynical hypothesis [they have to decided what lie to
                                              tell etc, or in the charitiable one ... how to finesse the medical issue,
                                              domestic discord etc].

                                              given that friend might be driving, managing their [young] kids etc
                                              there a lot to be said for emails. a nicely written email is a world
                                              apart from an "OMG how r u TTYL LOL" type text message.

                                              1. re: psb

                                                fair point on the preamble.

                                                With caller ID there is now an acknowledgement by the receiving party that yes they would like to speak with you. If it goes to voice mail then leave a nice message as you would have if you spoke voice to voice.

                                          2. re: jfood

                                            If the primary means of communication between these folks in the past has been email, there's nothing unmannered about continuing to use that means of communication. I'm actually thinking that a phone call at this late date (assuming that the phone has not been used much in the past) might come across as an escalation--it might seem like the OP getting a little **too** personal--almost like getting up in the no-show's face.

                                            As far as formality goes, I have gotten to the point where I routinely send formal correspondence via email. Dear so-and-so, very truly yours, etc.

                                          3. re: SeoulQueen

                                            The "reasons" could be too long to list,but to find out anything you have to
                                            inquire tactfuly.My vote is with your quick email plan.You won't know til you
                                            know.The excuse vs practical reason response is what you have to make
                                            decisions with.
                                            Me,it's doubtful there would be another invite anytime soon.There is a lot of
                                            rude self importance that is better suited elsewhere.You get to choose your
                                            company on a personal level.Only so much you can do about others.

                                          4. Call, and find out what (if anything) happened.

                                            If they just flubbed, then don't invite them ever again.

                                            "Fool me once your fault; fool me twice, my fault" ... or so says the fool :-)

                                            1. wildly speculative, of course, but my guess is that they got into a fight on the way over, decided they couldn't deal with each other through dinner at your place, and neither of them could muster up the energy to fake an excuse and call you.

                                              another possibility, depending on what they do, is that something came up for work at the very last minute. this actually comes up in my area of work a lot, so i tend to be more sympathetic than most to this reason... of course it doesn't excuse the failure to let you know, even after the fact.

                                              my personal approach would be to call and just chat generally without mentioning anything. chances are they will bring it up themselves. if they don't and you really feel as though you must know very gently ask whether everything was ok last X (day of dinner party.

                                              whether i invited them again or not would depend entirely on how much i enjoy their company.

                                              1. My working hypothesis is "they are flakes" and/or "this says something about how
                                                much they value your relationship" ... yes, it is possible there was a significant incident
                                                and it is possible they simply forgot [and havent remembered since ... in which case a
                                                mortifed mea culpa is clearly in order, otherwise see hypothesis #1 and add "and lamers

                                                So under that pessimistic working assumption, calling to "find out if you are ok"
                                                seems likely to be taken as a kind of a passive-aggressive confrontation, and
                                                even if sincere ... "we missed you and are wondering if you are ok" ... especially
                                                if it comes out of the blue in real time [although everyone has caller id now, i
                                                suppose ... if you do this, be sure to block caller-id :-)] ... i suppose since you
                                                have an email relationship, that is less likely to put them on the spot when they
                                                have to dissemble.

                                                If you are burning for an answer, or dont want to write them off, I suppose
                                                an inquiry will give you more info to make a decision ... a major mea culpa
                                                [and this calls for a major mea culpa in my book. like "oh my god, i totally
                                                forgot about that. i am incredible sorry especially considering you did so
                                                much to accomodate my schedule. we'd love to see you both ... you must
                                                let us treat you to dinner this week or next"] might change my mind.
                                                A perfunctory "oh stuff came up ... sorry we missed you" -> write off.

                                                Now if they flat out lie ... and say "we forgot" when really they got "a better offer"
                                                i suppose that puts you in a hard position. There are lots of crisis that get them
                                                off the hook when it comes to attending, but not so many which get them off
                                                the hook in terms of calling ... they dont live in Galvaston, TX do they? The dont
                                                work in I-Banking do they?

                                                i was originally going to suggest wating till a "natural" occasion to talk/email
                                                before broaching the subject, but if that wont ocurr for 3 weeks, then it may
                                                be odd ... on the other hand if you have a "natural internaction" soon, it may
                                                be possible to give them an opportuniy to bring it up themselves [ideal] or
                                                bring it up less confrontationally by you.

                                                Maybe you can pump this mutual couple about the likelyhood of various
                                                theories [flake, forget, better offer, crisis].

                                                But in your heart, you know the answer isnt good, dont you?

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: psb

                                                  There was a bleak short story in a recent New Yorker (of course, I can't remember title or author) about a couple (couple a) who don't show for dinner at another couple (couple B's) house; they had been friends a while and this dinner had become a periodic event. They worry a bit, then the wife B decides to let it go and goes to bed. Husband B goes to couple A's house to see if they're OK and finds that they deliberately scheduled a dinner party at their place on that same day, and invited all their "real friends", and excluded couple B.
                                                  The author was really skillful with handling almost everyone's archetypal social nightmare.......

                                                  1. re: Rasam

                                                    great story -- but fictional! (and led to separation of couple A -- which doesn't sound it happened here, thank goodness.)

                                                  2. re: psb

                                                    I wouldn't call either. You are not close friends with the couple, and it's the couple's responsibility to call you to apologize, not your responsibility to force a possibly fake apology out of the couple. If some emergency did come up, I imagine you'd hear about it from the mutual couple. For now, I think it's best to put them in the "do not invite again" pile and move on.

                                                    1. re: psb

                                                      >only evening that the no-show couple said they could do
                                                      baysian update: "busy people who might be better offer shoppers"

                                                      >wife had e-mailed me the week previous asking me to re-send directions
                                                      bayesian update: flake probability (lost directions/invite info)

                                                    2. If you're not that close with them, I wouldn't contact them. If they don't contact you with an apology or some kind of explanation, they are friends you don't need in your life anyway.

                                                      1. they probably wouldnt receive an invite from me again, I would most likely not attend any of their functions(however we would tell them we were not coming, not just not show up.

                                                        We run into issues like this with some of my wifes friends. We live about 60 miles from alot of her friends who all live pretty close together. We invite them out to our place in the country for birthday parties, cookouts, etc, and there is always an excuse(they are afraid to drive on the highway, its too far, etc), however they expect us to go to their gatherings. My opinion is the road goes both ways, and if I go to your gathering, you better come to mine, and vice-versa.

                                                        9 Replies
                                                        1. re: swsidejim

                                                          I understand that frustration swsidejim. Like you I live in the country, about 30 miles from my work in the south, and my bf's work in the north. One of my best friends from work "can't" bring herself to come ot to the country for dinner... because there might be snakes. So if we are to go out and see each other socially, either I'm driving 30 miles to go out or to go to her place for dinner..... or I'm driving 30 miles. And frankly, I won't drink if I have to drive 30 miles home, so that puts a bit of a damper on my enjoyment of a meal or night out as well. I guess I make a great designated driver tho.... maybe that's my appeal.

                                                          1. re: Firegoat

                                                            maybe i have such an issue with this because I commute about 800 miles a week to and from work, so driving a few miles to go see friends & do something fun is not an issue.

                                                            I guess we are lucky in the way that at least they tell us they are not going to come, rather than just blow us off, but we do have some people who say they are coming and dont show as well.

                                                            I take it as a sign of respect or disrespect.

                                                            1. re: swsidejim

                                                              Yeah, I have the same issue, but like you, I agree i'm lucky at least they tell me they won't come out. Their friendship is valuable to me still, tho, so i suck it up and make the drive periodically.

                                                          2. re: swsidejim

                                                            weird neuroses are a different matter than not keeping promises.

                                                            1. re: psb

                                                              neither work as an excuse for not showing up in my world.

                                                              1. re: swsidejim

                                                                Well Dante created nine levels of hell for a reason.

                                                                Somebody to chews with his mouth open and talks with his mouth
                                                                full, tells long unfunny jokes etc is different from somebody who steals
                                                                your silverware, makes bigoted commets, engages in one upsmanship etc.

                                                                I know people who are scared about finding parking in the city ... but i can
                                                                see that as a skill they are lacking. That's a different matter from people who
                                                                show up incredible late, flake on commitments etc. The first makes you kind
                                                                of lame but the second category has a moral taint ... those people are
                                                                disrepectful, or selfish or ...

                                                            2. re: swsidejim

                                                              Sounds like my family. My mom's brother and wife live 2 hours away and they never drive up to visit her. Usually if they do say they will visit, they flake out at the last minute. She invited them up to her house one year for Thanksgiving because my father was on call and they refused because it was too much of a hassle. She got tired of driving down there every time so now they never see each other anymore.

                                                              1. re: swsidejim

                                                                Given that your wife is filipina, there may be more at play if many of "her" friends are filipino. Filipinos might even have a different view of BBQ forexample.

                                                              2. If you are not close friends, I don't think I would bother these people. However, you did say you knew them through a mutual couple. I might get a little nosy and ask the other friends if they know if everything is okay; just tell them you were a little concerned when the older couple didn't show up. That could avoid putting them on the spot if it was something embarrassing.

                                                                1. Unless they died, were incapacitated, or something extreme occurred, there is no acceptable excuse for the guests not calling you the day of the event. As difficult as it is sometimes, grown adults make that phone call, regardless of the reason for missing such an intimate event. They could have called and told you that there were some private, family issues that came up the night of the dinner party, or made up a white lie. The people who don't make the call are usually the ones who never entertain, and have never felt the sting of the no-shows. They are the same people who don't call restaurants to cancel reservations, and have never worked as a host in a fully-booked restaurant. At the very least, they should have called you the next day, even if there were catastrophic circumstances. By not contacting you several days later, they have demonstrated that they are not invested enough in their relationship with you to try to salvage it.

                                                                  If I were you I would want a tight conclusion, "closure," so I would send a non-judgmental e-mail stating that you missed them at the dinner party and that you were concerned about their well-being, and that you haven't heard from them. If they don't respond by calling you and confronting the issue head-on, live, including a profuse apology, then I would thin the herd. I believe that in 2008 e-mail is perfectly appropriate in this instance. It's an easy way for you to invite communication and a conclusion to the mystery, and it gives them time to formulate a response. I disagree with the posters who say that e-mail is stooping to the level of the no-shows. It's actually giving them one more chance before you cut them from the team. Please let us know how this plays out.

                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                  1. re: FrankieSandals

                                                                    FS, you are refreshingly reasonable.

                                                                    1. re: FrankieSandals

                                                                      Let's see you can send an e-mail, but they must call.

                                                                      Both should pick up the phone and stop hiding behind the screen and bytes.

                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                        Hi jfood. I think there is a difference in what's expected here. If you're going to miss dinner you must call because that message has to be given personally in a timely manner. Following up to question the unexplained absence is a different situation. Personally, I don't think I could call and put them on the spot. Not sure if I'd contact them at all but if I did, email (or a very casual snail mail note) seems like a good choice just because it may be more comfortable for the recipient. And yes, I know they were rude, but I'd still try not to be. I know what you mean about email being indirect but in this case that seems like a gentler approach which is ok with me.

                                                                        By the way, I'm trying to find your salmon croquettes recipe. so far no luck but from my searhing I see it was from the silver palate cookbook, right? i thought I owned it but can't find it. a trip to the library later today will solve things.

                                                                        1. re: fern

                                                                          i tend to agree that calling is actually more confrontational. they are put on the spot, and -- if it were me -- i probably could not hide that slight edge of annoyance in my voice -- even though i would be genuinely trying to find out if they we're ok (read: if they had a damned good excuse for blowing off my dinner.)

                                                                          <clears throat>

                                                                          1. re: fern

                                                                            there are three SP cookbooks. It's the fat red one. jfood will get thje name of it tomorrow.

                                                                            so before email, everyone was confrontational when they called? nope. it all depends on how you approach the first few seconds.

                                                                            hey whatever works for people, that's fine. jfood just thinks an email is insensitive and a cop-out.

                                                                            1. re: fern

                                                                              Hi, sorry to interrupt. jfood kindly provided the salmon croquettes recipe you asked for, and we've split it off to the Home Cooking board, here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/560577 . Enjoy.

                                                                        2. "Dear friends: Sorry we missed you last week at dinner. We had to eat your share of the fois gras and truffles, which was too rich for our blood. This is why it took us a week to recover and inquire. We checked the local morgue, emergency room, and police lock up but did not find your names listed. So we assume that you are alright. Should you need us to bail you out, don't hesitate to call. We know a good bail bonds person."

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Firegoat

                                                                              Double :::::giggle, snort:::::: :-D

                                                                            2. re: PeterL

                                                                              "but did not find your names listed" -> "but unfortunately did not find your names listed"

                                                                            3. Please send the email. I know it's absolutely none of my business but I'm curious to find out what happened. .....:D

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: roadfix

                                                                                That's funny. This is better than Luke and Laura from the 70's.

                                                                                1. re: FrankieSandals

                                                                                  The last time someone just plain blew me off, it turned out a family member of hers was in a bad car accident. I'll never assume anything in that kind of situation again. On the other hand, there cartainly are people who seem to think being a no-show is OK. I want to identify those people so they don't screw up my plans again.

                                                                                  I'm with those who think a friendly email is good for not interrupting a person's day or putting them on the spot. "Hi, just wanted to let you know we missed you last Friday and hope you are OK."

                                                                                2. re: roadfix

                                                                                  yes this is definitely a thread that requires an update from the OP

                                                                                3. I could understand thinking that the couple would have stood you guys up if they had a history of doing this. However, as you don't really know them very well and have not mentioned prior infractions, I think it's presumptuous to come to that conclusion. As some of other others have said, I would just shoot off a quick friendly Email asking if everything is all right.

                                                                                  1. I would call or send an email and ask if they are all right. I invited a "work friend" to a function a while ago, and he didn't show which I thought was odd at the time.

                                                                                    A little over a week later he came by my desk to apologize and explained that he had had an emergency apendectomy the night before said event, and had to miss a week of work (and this guy never misses work).

                                                                                    1. ask if everything is ok. even if they say everything is, forgive.

                                                                                      if these are people you like (and if not why are they invited into your home?) then why would you dump them at the first chance? things happen in all of our lives - big medical emergencies, small household tragedies (a child's lost favorite toy eg), couples have fights, pets run away, people have bad days at work, etcetcetc. any of these might be a last minute reason someone didn't show up, and they might not want to tell you what the reason was, either. and that's ok.

                                                                                      with the attitude of some people, it is a wonder to me they keep any friends at all.

                                                                                      every culture has its version of the golden rule. treat others as u would want to be treated. a little forgiveness goes a long way in this world.

                                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                        "if these are people you like (and if not why are they invited into your home?) then why would you dump them at the first chance? things happen in all of our lives - big medical emergencies, small household tragedies (a child's lost favorite toy eg), couples have fights, pets run away, people have bad days at work, etcetcetc. any of these might be a last minute reason someone didn't show up, and they might not want to tell you what the reason was, either. and that's ok."

                                                                                        I disagree. Shit happens, and life isn't perfect, but we all make choices about relationships every day. If you want to deplete the emotional bank account you have built up with friends or acquaintances, then it's ok not to call, and eventually go bankrupt and let the relationship fade away. That's your choice. Responsible people who care about the relationship, make deposits into the emotional bank account by not letting too much time go by before calling and explaining why they couldn't make it. It's all about mutual respect and common courtesy.

                                                                                        1. re: FrankieSandals

                                                                                          i'm all for mutual respect and common courtesy.

                                                                                          but arguing from extremes seems problematic to me. it seems from the OP about 3 days went by, which i would not call "too much time." This was, so far, a one time occurrence, and not a pattern of behavior from these people, and cutting them off forever seems a bit of an overreaction at this point, to me.

                                                                                          1. re: FrankieSandals

                                                                                            i'm actually with thew on this one. i really do understand the massive annoyance and inconvenience of having prepped a meal for two no-shows -- but in this situation, the "costs" of having these guests was lower given that there were eight other people (including the host and hostess) enjoying the meal. if it'd been just the two of them coming for dinner, i'm sure my annoyance would be much, much greater.

                                                                                            but i guess ultimately it's a contextual thing and a personal decision. if i liked the couple and enjoyed their company, i'd invite them over again. or i'd head out to a restaurant with them, at least, where i'd be less irked at having gone to the trouble of prepping a good meal should they miss again. it doesn't sound like seoulqueen was deeply fond of the couple to begin with, though -- so of course she has no obligation to hang out with them ever again.

                                                                                            there's no clear right or wrong, here, and i shy away from bright line rules in everyday life. saying "if you miss and don't call, you're blacklisted FOREVER, END OF STORY, F-ERS!" is just not my style.

                                                                                            To OP, maybe there's no real need to decide what to do. You've the right to be annoyed, but take your own annoyance with a grain of salt. You never know. And the situation will work itself out. You'll either run into each other again or you won't.

                                                                                            1. re: cimui

                                                                                              "but i guess ultimately it's a contextual thing and a personal decision. if i liked the couple and enjoyed their company, i'd invite them over again."

                                                                                              Why would you invite someone to your home again after they didn't respect you enough to tell you why they blew you off? In my opinion, if the couple doesn't respond to the OP with valid justification and a sincere apology, then they are making a clear statement that they are not interested in a mutually-respectful friendship. Communicating with each other in a timely fashion is a basic tenet of healthy, thoughtful, true friendships. If you don't hold people accountable who don't communicate in a timely and respectful manner, then you are enabling their behavior. Their behavior wreaks of, "Maybe they're just not into you," and if that's the case, move on instead of having a wishy-washy friendship with them. Too many times people let the "no shows" of the world off the hook because we are a confrontation-adverse society, and people are afraid to speak up, even when they are justified in doing so. There is an art to confronting without being confrontational. Life is too short to waste your time, effort or emotional energy on people who just don't "get it."

                                                                                              1. re: FrankieSandals

                                                                                                "Why would you invite someone to your home again after they didn't respect you enough to tell you why they blew you off?"

                                                                                                Because I don't necessarily think failure to call is a personal affront. It can be, of course, but often, it isn't. I work with plenty of fantastic, uber-responsible people who flake on commitments because of the nature of our job.

                                                                                                I dont' really feel qualified to judge Seoulqueen's friends from the outside without ever having met them. She's far better placed to determine whether these folks are total flakes or good people who deserve another chance. There is no one, all-purpose, abstractly-derived answer to be gained from Chowhound, really.

                                                                                                I don't think I'm afraid to speak up. (As you can see from these posts, sometimes I'm a little too willing to speak up! ;) But you do have to balance self-defense with empathy at times.

                                                                                                1. re: FrankieSandals

                                                                                                  frankie - you keep talking about responding in a timely fashion. how long a time span do you think that is?

                                                                                                  1. re: thew

                                                                                                    Hey thew- I believe that they 'no show' couple should have called the day of the dinner party to cancel. Even if there is an 'emergency' there is usually time to call, unless the circumstances are extreme. I can remember several instances, including unexpected deaths of family members, leaving voicemails and e-mails in the middle of the night to clear my schedule of everyone I had made a commitment to over the next few days. It is absolutely unacceptable not to give someone the same consideration that you would expect, given the circumstances. The people who don't make the phone call are the reason why so many people say that civility between human beings is on the decline. It is, and we need to reverse the trend.

                                                                                                    1. re: FrankieSandals

                                                                                                      the good old days werent so good. people are exactly the same now as they have always been

                                                                                                      1. re: FrankieSandals

                                                                                                        For FrankieS..."There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way who nods at them and says, "Morning, boys, how's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, "What the hell is water?"

                                                                                            2. My moms response would be to send them a "Sorry we missed you" note, with a small cliff notes version of what was served and discussed that night.

                                                                                              My dad's response would be "F&^% Em." and never invite them over again, as he had the leftovers for lunch the next day.

                                                                                              MY response would be somewhere in the middle. I would send them a sorry we missed you, had a great time... and proceed to tell them they missed an incredible evening. Then make it a point to never waste my time and money on an invite to them again.

                                                                                              1. How awkward! It was a small dinner party, not an open house. I would have called that night to determine whether or not to delay serving the meal. I think an email is fine, especially if you are not that aware of their schedule, i.e. what day the kids have piano lessons or soccer practice, what their normal dinner hour is, etc.

                                                                                                1. Jfood - I disagree with you about email being insensitive. My relationship with this couple has always been via e-mail or face to face, never via phone. I think my writing a nice e-mail asking if everything is ok is more personal than suddenly ringing them up out of the blue and putting them on the spot as to why they didn't show.

                                                                                                  I've had perfectly polite e-mails and texts sent to me and I have also experienced rude phone conversations (where it is obvious that the person I am speaking to is not listening to me). In today's age, I think the mode of communication matters less, it's the politeness, courtesy and manners while communicating that counts. Otherwise, next time I host a dinner party I'd better handwrite invitations on my personalized stationary and send them out with enough time for RSVPs to come back! :-) (Ironically, I really do have personalized stationary!)

                                                                                                  I ended up sending a short e-mail last night saying I missed them at my dinner party and that I hoped they were ok. No response yet ...am hopeful that they will write me an explanation. I spoke to the mutual couple today and they haven't heard anything at all.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: SeoulQueen


                                                                                                    Everyone has theie line in the sand where they feel things cross from personal to insensitive. Some feel emails are insensitive (that's jfood) some feel voice mails are insensitive and others think calling to have a voice to voice conversation is hounding (that's yours below). In the end everyone needs to feel comfortable that they did the right thing.

                                                                                                    Hopefully your friends respond and everything is all right, that's the most important aspect of all of this. Then in the future you need to decide how to include them in your life, if you like, or move on.

                                                                                                    1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                                                                      agree about e-mail being fine, SQ. i think in part, this may be a generational difference.

                                                                                                    2. Email is not the answer. You have no way of knowing whether it got through or if you're being ignored. If your email does get through and you get a response, it's in writing and totally lacking in voice inflection, embarrassed pauses, or any of the clues that voice contact will gain. And don't drop by for a face to face, no matter how much concern you would show. It's too confrontational.

                                                                                                      Pick up the phone and call them. Use caller ID block before you call just in case they're so embarrassed they don't have the courage to pick up the phone if they know it is you. If you get an answering machine or voice mail, hang up. Do NOT leave a message. Then keep calling (with blocked caller ID) until someone answers.

                                                                                                      As things currently stand, you have no idea why they didn't show. The dog could have had puppies and they forgot everything except seeing that Daisy whelped in good health. They may have had to leave town because of a family emergency and may not even be back yet. Not showing up could have been their way of telling you to kiss off. Until you talk to them, you just don't know.

                                                                                                      And after you talk to them, there's plenty of time to react then. The great advantage will be that you'll KNOW what you're reacting to. Good luck.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                        I completely disagree with you Caroline1. SQ has already stated how she interacts with this couple. Email has always been a viable communication option with them. I do think the blocked caller ID repeated phone calls is a bit.... much.

                                                                                                      2. Sorry Caroline but I have better things to do with my life than to phone stalk this couple . Personally, I would get creeped out (and also annoyed) if someone kept ringing and ringing without leaving a message - esp with a block on the Caller ID!

                                                                                                        Yes, I'm peeved about their behaviour and would like an explanation, but it was a dinner party! Not major in the grand scheme of things! I'm certainly not about to start hounding them just to get an explanation!

                                                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                                                                          I agree with sending an email rather than calling. I absolutely can't stand it when someone calls over and over without leaving a message, with or without caller ID blocked, and the more the phone rings, the less likely I am to answer it. I used to phone-stalk people in 6th grade and am now over it.

                                                                                                          I'm curious to hear the outcome of this situation!

                                                                                                          1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                                                                            I think you did the right thing. You sent them an email. It's only a dinner party. No need to call them.
                                                                                                            My guess: they're not going to reply because they're embarrassed, and since they didn't think of a white lie already, can't come up with anything plausible now.
                                                                                                            I'll bet: when and if they run into you again, they will pretend like all this never happened and chat away about everything else under the sun. You can decide if you want to stare them in the eye and ask them what happened.

                                                                                                            1. re: Rasam

                                                                                                              if they pretend it never happened, you know everything you need to know.

                                                                                                              1. re: Rasam

                                                                                                                If I couldn't, or didn't want to, come up with a white lie (presumably to cover for valid, but private reasons), I would still apologize profusely for not being there. Email would be perfect for conveying the sentiment without actually offering the reason.
                                                                                                                When my husband and I missed a special dinner because we simply forgot, we fessed up, felt horrible and sent flowers.
                                                                                                                Caller ID block really has no place in social situations. *Maybe* if someone owes you money. I find it amusing someone would blame age differences for different views of email, but then suggest using Caller ID block... I'm 34 and I don't even have caller ID on my cellphone or home phone... if I don't want to talk I don't pick up the phone, period. If I found out someone in my social circle was using called ID block when calling supposed friends, for any reason, I would be horrified!

                                                                                                                1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                  And I'm almost 50 and I don't have Caller ID on my home phone. (Cell phones automatically come with it if you input their phones into your address book). If it's a telemarketer, I tell them to remove me and I hang up. If I don't feel like picking up the phone, I let it go to the answering machine.

                                                                                                                  I was rather surprised to read someone actually suggesting to use the Caller ID block in this instance. A very inappropriate way to go about things.

                                                                                                              2. re: SeoulQueen

                                                                                                                I think you took the right approach. I am not a phone person and never pick up an unknown/blocked call. I can imagine that any response I would give on the phone would come across badly because I am not one to chit chat on the phone and tend to be quite abrupt. With an email, no response is a response in itself. You've carried out the relationship through email in the past, so you know they use email enough to get the message in a reasonable amount of time.

                                                                                                                Please keep us up-to-date as to whether they respond!

                                                                                                                1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                                                                                  <sigh> I see the mods missed me. They've deleted my first response so I will try again.

                                                                                                                  I suspect the difference in our ages is heavily reflected in our approaches. Here are a few things I have learned in my now-75 years:

                                                                                                                  First and foremost is that there is no way you can know with certainty that an email reached them. Conversly, there is no way to know with certainty that an email from them has reached you.

                                                                                                                  I don't understand your apparent hostility toward me, but that's neither here nor there. The point I am TRYING to make is that you will have plenty of time to be angry AFTER you find out why they were no shows. From reading your posts in this thread so far, I have to conclude that it has hurt your feelings and that you are in pain over what happened or this thread would't exist. Why not find out whether you truly have anything to be hurt and angry over before you waste all that emotional energy?

                                                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                    The probabilities you are associating with the likelihood of
                                                                                                                    the email path not being reliable are not correct, assuming they
                                                                                                                    have already emailed back and forth between addresses A and B
                                                                                                                    and for some bizarre reason didnt include any text about Viagra
                                                                                                                    or Rolex Watches or other Make Money Fast opportunities.

                                                                                                                    The OP never put phone calls on the table. SQ was asking "should
                                                                                                                    i email or not" not "what should i do" ... presumably you will acknowledge
                                                                                                                    75 yrs or not, SQ has a better sense of her relationship with her associates
                                                                                                                    than you do.

                                                                                                                    BTW, I have been using email for ~23yrs ... I am not sure what your age
                                                                                                                    has to do with your knowledge of email.

                                                                                                                    And i think a lot of us would neither call repeatedly and hang up nor
                                                                                                                    appreciate somebody doing that to us. Do you do this?

                                                                                                                    I guess you and SQ do agree that a face to face "ambush" is not a good idea.

                                                                                                                    1. re: psb

                                                                                                                      Maybe if I had your 23 years of experience with email, I would be wrong, but fact is I only have my own experience of that duration to base opinions on. Apparently not similar in the least. I have had emails fail completely and sail off into cyberspace. I've had an email take one full month only to reach me from a business partner too late. I have had emails appear to get through only to find out later they didn't because the addressee had changed ISPs. I have had a lot of very unsatisfying experiences with email, but congratulations on your good luck!

                                                                                                                      I agree with other posters that dropping by in person would be confrontational. But I don't agree that a phone call is "too" confrontational.

                                                                                                                      And I recommend using caller ID block based on personal experience. In this day of multiple land line and cell phone companies, caller ID is no longer what it was originally. I get phone calls from at least six people when all the caller ID indicates is "Texas." If I don't want to talk to "Texas #5," I have no way of differentiating them from "Texas #1," who would be my daughter calling from 600 miles away, so if I don't want to talk to #5 bad enough, my only choice is to ignore all. Blocked caller ID can save a lot of confusion. And I recommend calling more than once simply because the other party may not be home if it's a land line, or in the case of a cell, they may be out of range or who knows what.

                                                                                                                      My primary message is to cut the other person some slack until you KNOW you have valid reason for being ticked off.

                                                                                                                      As for what my age has to do with anything, it has to do with how technology oriented each generation is. I greatly prefer personal contact, with vocal contact being the minimum, than I do email or texting. However, I am rather amused and amazed that, after all of the recent (and possibly ongoing) technical problems with this site (that for me at least, have been both site and web related) how much faith people have in email. Curious.

                                                                                                                      My last post in this thread. IMO the OP should handle it the way she sees fit.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                        I got caller ID specifically so I could weed out unknown/blocked numbers. I never pick up unknown calls unless an unknown number has recently called, left me a message, and I am expecting a call back. A person who voluntarily blocks his/her number is doing it for a reason, and that probably means nothing good can come from me picking up.

                                                                                                                        For me, email is MUCH more reliable than the phone. I do not have a land line and my phone often loses service and people cannot get in touch with me. Much of the other time, the reception is so bad I can't hear anything. In addition to cell phones, many people are moving over to broadband for phone service which also comes with its own issues. I think in terms of reliability, it can go either way depending on the situation.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                          But I don't agree that a phone call is "too" confrontational.
                                                                                                                          However, considering the fact that the OP said they have ONLY had EMail or face-to-face contact, a phone call in this context *would* be very confrontational.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                            It sounds like Caller ID block would be totally unnecessary for your callers if you didn't have caller ID in the first place.
                                                                                                                            FWIW I agree with your message about not assuming the worst about these people, but not with your methods.

                                                                                                                    2. The thing I find distressing in this whole thread is the opening position for most is being annoyed/being insulted/being offended that these invited guests missed the dinner party. Before anything else is know, this offense is taken/presumed.

                                                                                                                      Personally, I think you find out what happened _then_ decide how you feel about it. These people may have been horribly rude and there will be plenty of time to lament that fact should it be borne out. But, any of a very long list of things might have happened such that any reasonable person would say "well, I can sure see why they didn't get a chance to call you." There's just no thought to giving any benefit of the doubt to people anymore. Instead, we jump right to "just write them off," or "to heck with them, they're clearly not worth it" (note: generic quotes, not from any particular post in this thread).

                                                                                                                      If you (the plural you, writ large) don't have any actual concern for them as people, but, rather, only annoyance that they didn't show up as guests then don't contact them expressing any concern, its just disingenuous.

                                                                                                                      Its always good to know the situation before you react to the situation.

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. In the US, absent an unexpected invitation from the White House or family illness that required their presence, they were rude - the kind of rudeness for which the customary remedy is being stricken from future guest lists.

                                                                                                                          1. "are not close friends but I have known for over a year and see them from time to time through a mutual couple"

                                                                                                                            So some people you have known some few months, who are not really your friends, who you see only through people who are your friends, didn't come to dinner as planned.

                                                                                                                            After "Gee, Bill and Donna said they'd be here." at the table, forget it.

                                                                                                                            1. Sorry I have had problems with my wireless router... anyways the no-show couple (the husband) finally replied back on Friday afternoon... the husband wrote back. Their response is below and for clarification, H&J are the mutual couple and when I said in an earlier post that they are a lot older, they are late 40's.

                                                                                                                              Hi J---!
                                                                                                                              Sorry we couldn't make it Saturday night. M--- and I were running around all day Sat - we had a ton of errands to do incl. dr's appts and by the late afternoon both of us were absolutely exhausted. M--'s calves were also starting to bother her. Sorry again and hope to meet up soon. Hope it was fun. Were H---- & J---- there?


                                                                                                                              My decision is not to invite them to future smaller gathering in the immediate future.. will most likely invite them to my Christmas cocktail party as that is 20-30 people and see how they behave to that invitation.

                                                                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                                                                                                Yep, alas, sounds like they were simply horribly rude. Its generous of you to plan to invite them to any future gatherings at your place. I agree with your high road action of checking on them.

                                                                                                                                They clearly still don't get that they did anything wrong by not calling to let you know they weren't coming. Personally, I wouldn't be as generous as you; I'd be very unlikely to invite them to anything else.

                                                                                                                                1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                  At this point, I don't think I would invite that couple over again until they invited me to their house first. You gave them enough notice to plan accordingly, and if they knew they were going to have a busy day beforehand, they should not have accepted the invitation in the first place. At any rate, there's no reason why they couldn't call/email ahead of time to let you know they couldn't come. However, I am not sure that "calf pain" is really a great excuse, especially when you're relatively young.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                                    "At this point, I don't think I would invite that couple over again until they invited me to their house first."

                                                                                                                                    My thoughts exactly!!!!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: OCAnn

                                                                                                                                      That is actually part of the correct remedy on the offending guests part.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                        ITA, but given their behaviour, I doubt that it's likely. (But I have my fingers crossed that they do. =)

                                                                                                                                2. re: SeoulQueen

                                                                                                                                  wow. some balls on them.
                                                                                                                                  you're a nicer person than I am to invite them in the future.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                                                                                                    well there you go mystery solved....they are rude.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                                                                                                      Ya-know, they do not sound rude, but sound absolutely and totally self-absorbed and even more clueless, with no social grace. Gotta love the calves comment, OMG.

                                                                                                                                      Can we also assume that H&J were the mutual couple? If so then they are asking you if they were also there or no-shows. This is confirmation of their self-absorbancy & cluelessness in that they feel no remorse about not being there, and instead of picking up the phone (or email if that is your norms as hard as that is to write for jfood) to ask them directky they are asking you for feedback for a dinner they bolted on. Wow!!!

                                                                                                                                      You now have a great data point, they are invitees for a large party but not a smaller group gathering.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                                                                                                        It's really unfortunate that this couple couldn't see fit to at least let you know they weren't coming, ESPECIALLY after this was the only date that this couple said they could make and you specifically planned it for this date! There was no emergency - they were "tired." Obviously too tired to pick up the phone, and they don't seem to think anything is wrong with what they didn't do. Clueless, rude, and lacking in any social norms.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                                                                                                          Thank you for the follow up. The exclamation point after their greeting, implies a perky, oblivious, arrogance. Their response is very immature, and for the guy to use his partner's calves as part of the excuse, that's just pathetic.

                                                                                                                                          I received a text from a friend a few weeks ago stating that he removed 27 people from his phone that he had accumulated over the last few years. As part of simplifying his life, he called it deleting "non-essential personnel." These acquaintences seem to fit that category. You can't help but to wonder if they would have contacted you at all if you hadn't sent the follow-up e-mail. These people don't sound like "keepers."

                                                                                                                                          1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                                                                                                            Thanks for the follow-up - I was curious about this.

                                                                                                                                            Incidentally, we had people do this at our rather small wedding. I was so concerned that something terrible must have happened to them, and then when we finally heard back from them a few days later it was, "Oh, we got so busy that day we just forgot all about it!"

                                                                                                                                          2. Good point Queencru! You're right - I will wait for them to invite me and my husband to something at their house.

                                                                                                                                            My husband's response to their no-show was "scr*w ' em, don't ever invite them again" and that was before their e-mail response (which I haven't shown to my husband as that would really piss him off. ) I guess I won't be surprised if by the time I send out my Christmas party invites, I'm not socializing with them anymore.

                                                                                                                                            On a nice note, the mutual couple have been apologizing! I don't know why. Maybe some misplaced sense of responsibility because they were the ones to introduce this couple to my husband and I? It's not mutual couple's fault and I told them so, but as this whole thing has played out, they have been the ones constantly saying "Oh my goodness, I am sooooo sorry!" Mutual couple are very sweet and nice - they will definitely get invited back. :-)

                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                                                                                                              Mutual couple is older and wiser.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                                                                                                                  thanks for reporting back, that settles it, they are just rude! Off the guest list.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                    The unfortunate thing is that people like this spawn others like them, giving rise to whole new generations of self-absorbed, socially inept (unless it suites their needs) individuals. My daughter teaches 5th grade & could tell you stories........

                                                                                                                                                    You were obviously good enough in their book to feed them, but only if cirumstances weren't too inconvenient or not if something better came up. Buh-bye!

                                                                                                                                                2. Any updates on the no-show couple? Did they ever invite you to their house or out for dinner to apologize for having aching calves?