SENSE & SENSITIVITY

DEAR HARRIETTE: I was invited to a private party by my friend, who was invited by her friend, who was throwing the party. Apparently, there was going to be a guest list at this party. I thought it would be OK to invite another person. My friend seemed a little upset and told me that it was inconsiderate of me to do this without asking her. I think she’s overreacting to the situation. Who’s right, me or her? — Chantel, Edison, N.J.

 Chantel: You definitely should have asked about inviting someone else before you extended the invitation. You could have faced a very awkward situation: your guest could have been turned away at the door. As it is, your friend is angry with you. Don’t presume anything when it comes to invitations. Ask for clarification before you proceed.

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.