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20-40-60 Etiquette: What if I am not invited?

I'm throwing a party, and the guest list is short. Now someone who isn't invited asks me about it. What do I say? 20-40-60 Etiquette wrestles with the question, with Christina Nihira as guest.
by Helen Ford Wallace and Lillie-Beth Brinkman Modified: January 20, 2013 at 1:39 am •  Published: January 20, 2013

GUEST'S ANSWER: Christina Nihira, local community volunteer and journalist: Your question does not mention what type what type of relationship you have with the host, which is the crux of how to best address this thorny situation.

Before you get upset, I think it's important to remember not to personalize a non-invite because usually it has nothing to do with you.

If you are close pals and feel this oversight has really hurt your feelings, I am a big believer in open communication. Make a call and have an honest conversation with your friend or family member.

The majority of times, hosts suffer from party-preparation stress. That is to say, if you ask why you were not included, the answer might surprise you. Often creating the guest list is reason enough to dissuade many from holding a big get-together. It's easy to get overwhelmed with thoughts like “if I invite him, I need to invite them” or “if they come, I can't forget her, too.” And sometimes, names simply get left off the list. I myself have made that mistake (and later felt horrible). Others may struggle with wanting to keep things small and intimate by only inviting over one couple or family.

Life is too short to dwell on missed invites. There's always time for another party!

Callie Gordon is twenty-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is in her 40s, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email For more 20-40-60 etiquette, go to

by Helen Ford Wallace
Society Editor
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for...
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by Lillie-Beth Brinkman
Lillie-Beth Brinkman is a Content Marketing Manager for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. She was previously an assistant editor of The Oklahoman
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