Solo at Lunch

Dear Sensible Midwesterner,

Should a staff member’s boyfriend be invited to a staff holiday lunch? Married team members are asking their spouses.

Sincerely,

Solo at Lunch

Dear Solo at Lunch,

Who is and isn’t invited to a gathering is up to the host. Full stop. Polite hosts tend to do their inviting along some principle to avoid hurt feelings (all first cousins to the wedding, for example, not just the favorites).

As a modern person, I’m a big fan of the “plus-one” invitation, especially for work events parading as social occasions. This lets individuals decide who, if anyone, they bring along to events. To my mind, if any of the team members on staff get to bring someone, everyone should get to bring someone.

That said, I’m not the host. If you have any say in who’s getting invited (it sounds like you don’t), I say lobby for either everyone being allowed to bring someone or keeping it to just the team members (honestly, work events tend to be a bit of a drag for those who don’t work there, so keeping it just to co-workers is the kindest thing you can do for your loved ones).

If, as you signature suggests, you are an unmarried person who wants to bring your boyfriend but isn’t being allowed to, there isn’t much you can do. The should and shouldn’t of it all is moot. Show up with a sparkling clean attitude (leave any chips off your shoulders), be the life of the lunch, connect with your co-workers’ spouses, and get on the party planning committee for the next event.

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