Big birthday bash turns into worst nightmare

DEAR HARRIETTE: I hosted a birthday party for my wife and invited many of her friends and co-workers, perhaps 20 people, all of whom RSVP’d “yes.” But no one showed — not a soul. My wife got all dolled up; I’d catered it and hired a disc jockey. It was pretty bad. She is heartbroken but doesn’t want to say anything to the folks who didn’t come. May I? — Alexander, Philadelphia, Pa.

DEAR ALEXANDER: I think many people’s worst nightmare when hosting a party is that no one will show up. It’s tricky what to do next. In regards to your wife’s co-workers, leave that alone. She has to continue to work with these people who hurt her feelings and embarrassed her. 

If there is a “best friend” in the bunch, I would probably reach out to that person to ask what happened. I wouldn’t tell that person that no one showed up. Again, that would be embarrassing for your wife. Moreover, I would ask why she didn’t come to the party. If a friend calls the house and you answer the phone, ask why that person couldn’t make it. I absolutely believe it’s OK to express your disappointment to these people — who presumably care about your wife — for being no-shows.

Given that no one came, I also wonder whether there was some other reason behind it. Are you sure you sent the right date? Did your wife have a falling out with anyone? These questions are worth contemplating. The sting of what must feel like a betrayal will pass, but neither of you will forget what happened.