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Dinner and a show - unexpected people invited, now what?

So here's the scenario: I e-mailed 3 friends suggesting dinner and a show since none of us had met up in a while. I mentioned several dates a good 5 weeks in advance so as to accommodate everyone. We all said yes, the date was settled and I am organizing by buying the tickets and selecting a list of restaurants nearby.

It's 3 weeks later and Friend 1 contacted me asking if she could invite a friend. Although they are friends, the rest of us only know this person as an acquaintance.

Then earlier this week, Friend 2 e-mailed to say she had invited another person. She felt obliged to because this person heard about our upcoming dinner+show and said to Friend 2 that she also wanted to see the show. Again, rest of us only know this person as an acquaintance.

I realize I am not inviting my friends to my house for a meal but I do feel a little bit the hostess since I originally suggested the get together and am organizing everything. I don't want to seem unfriendly but do I have any options so I can keep this dinner+show to the original 4 of us as planned? We don't get together too often and it was hard enough to pick a date we could all agree on. Is it rude to ask Friend 1 not to invite her friend? What about the person Friend 2 already invited?

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  1. how do these extra people get tickets to the show? Assuming that they can handle this themselves (sounds like you already got the planned tickets) I think it's a bit "small" to complain about extra people coming. Is it really that big a deal? They aren't asking you to find a new date that accommodates the new folks, right?

    2 Replies
    1. re: DGresh

      No, my friends know I am planning to buy the tickets this weekend. The show is secondary - the main point being that the 4 of us are meeting to catch up since we haven't seen each other in 6+ months.

      Friend 2 explained her extra person phoned saying they heard she was going to see the show and that they wanted to come. The call caught her off guard and she did the automatic reponse of "yes I'm going, did you want to come?" which she now regrets.

      I wouldn't mind who came or who invited whom if I had sent out a general e-mail announcing a trip to see the show and asking who wanted to come along but that was not the case. Or maybe I am behind the times and it is now acceptable to interpret any social invitation to mean you can invite whomever you want to?

      1. re: SeoulQueen

        Any social invitation? Certainly not. I would imagine if you hosted it in your home or were having a wedding/shower, people wouldn't be inviting random acquaintances to attend. However when it is a show or other sort of public event where you're probably not going to be having intimate conversations anyway, I think many people interpret it to mean the more the merrier. Unless you absolutely despise these acquaintances and your friends know it, what's the worst that could happen? You may end up making new friends.

    2. The first thought that occurred to me was to tell them that you already had the FOUR show tickets and reservations for FOUR at the restaurant, but I see from reading your second post that this may not fly. Sooooo... Maybe you're hosed on just the four of you for this one, but maybe if it WAS at your house and you were doing the cooking, the other three wouldn't be jumping in with the more the merrier theme? Something to think about for next time. Good luck, and hope it turns out to be not too much of a disappointment.

      1. Seems to me that uninviting self-invited persons is a necessary social skill.

        If it were me, I'd keep to the original format, which seems just about right for the type of catching-up you had in mind with your old buddies, and peripheral acquaintances will only provide social confusion.

        Good luck!

        1. Can we assume the two additional invitees aren't the *original* invitees' significant others? That would be the only excuse for the kind of rudeness it takes for someone to invite another to *your* outing.

          As rude as it may have been of your friends to invite others, if you haven't seen these folks in 6 months (and it's so extremely difficult to get 'em all together) perhaps you just wanna go with the flow and accept that your party of four is now going to be a party of six.

          Coordinating the reservation/tickets is going to become that much harder in order to accommodate the other invitees -- maybe you should ask the two friends who "invited another" to assist you, at least with the theater tickets? The've added to your burden; toss the ball back in their court! (You could also mention "say, now that we're going to be six, we'll have to plan on an additional car to take us around..." -- stuff like that.)

          The thing that both of your friends did, by inviting another, is subliminally say "hey, the group you've invited ain't interesting enough; we wanna liven it up a bit." That's the epitome of rudeness.

          1. I really dislike being the ticket purchaser for shows - putting all that money on a credit card and in this case for 2 people you don't really know. There is a chance that someone will back out and you are left with the tickets and cost.
            just buy 4, say that was all you could get together and that the spirit of the gathering had changed with the extras, you were not prepared to shell out extra money for tickets.

            3 Replies
            1. re: smartie

              That's a perfect answer, smartie, politically correct and yet getting the point across that buying tickets for friends of friends is not something you care to do.
              Otherwise, sorry your group can't get together just the four of you, but people do gain partners along the way, sometimes for the long term and sometimes not. You might want to define parameters before future get-togethers, though. I mean really, if it takes four months to get the four together, it sounds like a bit of a disconnect to me.

              1. re: EWSflash

                If you don't care to buy ticktets for friend's friend's then you should tell them so. Buying the tickets for your friends but not their friends means that you are putting them in a corner.

              2. If this was a one time occurrence, I'd just go with it. It really isn't a big deal. Sometimes things just don't work out how we planned. Sometimes that's a good thing. You may find it makes things more fun.

                If this becomes a pattern, either say something or find new friends.

                I too find it odd that a person would invite someone else without consulting you first. It's rather insulting in fact.


                1. So here's the update- I rang Friend 3 and she was also less than enthused about having other people come along. We both agreed that we could ask Friend 1 not to invite her friend, no one else in the group knows the person. Luckily, the invitation hadn't been extended yet so that's one we can head off at the pass, so to speak.

                  Friend 2's situation was trickier but Smartie raised a good point - I don't want to pay for $80 extra tickets (nonrefundable, non exchangeable) for people I don't really know. I've just spoken to Friend 2 and told her that I'll be purchasing tickets today and that I'm uncomfortable buying additional tickets for people I don't know. I said I would buy the extra ticket if she ponied up the money, but she didn't want to do that. So I am going to buy just 4.

                  And in answer to various questions, no these other people are not significant others/spouses, they are just acquaintances. And yes, it takes us around 4-6 months to get together - you'd be surprised how quickly weekends get booked up when you have little kids (playdates, birthday parties, family outings etc) and we are all spread out over a good 2 hr drive.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: SeoulQueen

                    Well done, SeoulQueen. Sounds like you handled it perfectly. I'll have to remember that in the future.

                    1. re: boyzoma

                      Perfect. And now the OP's friends have learned a necessary social lesson.

                  2. So last night was the dinner and show - oh dear! As the 4 of us are getting seated for dinner, Friend 2 suddenly says "uh XYZ is coming tonight, she's running a little late" What?? I was in disbelief/surprised along with the other 2 friends. Thankfully the waiter came to give us menus and take drinks order and that broke up the awkward atmosphere.

                    Dinner was fine and the conversations are going well. I'm hoping that maybe this person will be a no show. No such luck. We've all eaten and waiting for the check when Friend 2's +1 breezes in saying "Hi everyone! Sorry I'm late! I'm starving!" squeezes into our booth and starts flagging down a waiter. Conversation came to a screeching halt. Friend 1, squeezed between +1 and Friend 2, is throwing daggers at me. Friend 3 turns to me and whispers "who is this person?" I spoke up and said "sorry but the show is starting in 20 minutes, we really need to get going." Awkwardness on the walk to the theatre (+1 wanted to stop for food along the way, rest of us didn't want to be late).

                    After the show (which was good), more awkwardness as the 3 of us tried to gracefully separate ourselves from Friend 2 and +1 so we could go for coffee and dessert. In the end, we had to pretend we were all going home and re-meet down the block. Not a complete disaster but certainly not the evening it should have been.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: SeoulQueen

                      SeoulQueen, you did the very best you could.

                      Friend 2 and the fifth wheel are total boors. I think you ought to "delete" Friend 2's number from your calendar/contacts list, honestly.

                      Shows up *after* dinner's over, and you're almost late for the show, and then, not getting the hint -- wants to get food a few minutes before curtain time. Astonishing!

                      I must tell you I wouldn't have been as accommodating nor as nice as you were, SeoulQueen. I wouldn't have been nice at all. I despise surprises nearly as much as I despise being cornered by people. Kudos to you! Your karma gets major props for the way you handled the situation.

                      1. re: shaogo

                        Unfriending is one helpful Facebook tool that can be translated into real social life (and what I mean by unfriending is merely that someone has removed themselves from being eligible for being invited to certain kinds of social activities where a better sense of manners is required for the group to enjoy itself). Life's too short.

                        1. re: shaogo

                          I said "hello, how are you?' and "good night, be careful getting home" to +1 but that was about it. I was too busy talking with Friends 1 and 3. When +1 said she wanted to stop for food, I simply said that I didn't want to be late and that I would go ahead and get seated. Friends 1 and 3 said they would go with me and we kept walking. Friend 2 showed up a few seconds before the curtain went up, she was literally panting so they must have run.

                          At coffee/dessert I did explain to Friend 1 what happened. I could sense she was annoyed with me - probably thinking why were other people's friends invited but not hers - so at least I cleared that up with her. Just as well we don't meet up too often but next time the 4 of us meet up, we will be blunt and say do not invite anyone else and then see what Friend 2 does.

                        2. re: SeoulQueen

                          question...did +1 sit with you, on Friend 2's lap?

                          1. re: jfood

                            LOL now that really would have been awkward! No, she was seated a row behind us a few seats over. The last time I spoke to Friend 2 before last night was when I said I would not pay for the extra ticket . So I have no idea what was said between Friend 2 and +1 that still resulted in +1 coming. Personally, if I knew a group of people had already bought tickets, I take that to mean no one else is invited. I would never dream of buying a ticket on my own and tagging along!

                            1. re: SeoulQueen

                              that's where jfood was heading as well...this now creates a new standard of f%$ing clueless.

                              You did very well and now have a core of 3 for your next show.