Thursday, May 27, 2010

social obligations?

I'd really like to hear some opinions on this one...

We've been invited to an "open house" (i.e. drop-in style party) this weekend for the engagement of a family friend whom we don't see very often. In fact, I haven't seen him since my brother's wedding last year, and before that... well, it was a long time. But anyhow, we've been invited, and he doesn't have a large extended family, and his mother feels that we're the "closest thing to family" they have. My parents are, of course, going.

When my mom asked whether we'd be there, I answered, "no". True to form, she asked my why. I explained that I don't have a really great reason, just that I don't feel like going, it's not conveniently located, we've had a lot of social engagements recently (and we have two others that weekend, neither in direct conflict), and that Mr. December has been working late and hasn't had the time to be at home with us and it would be nice to just have some family time together.

My mom acted like this was a really unsatisfactory answer.

So my question - my musing - tonight is about whether one is actually "obligated" to attend social functions to which they are invited unless they are otherwise occupied (i.e. with an officially scheduled event). Do I need a reason to send my regrets over an invitation? Is it not my perogative to decide that I'm just not in the mood to drive 30 minutes each way just to be smiley and social at an event that will be no fun for Kali and no fun for my husband (and probably not much fun for me)? Can't I just randomly decide not to accept an invitation?

According to how I was raised, no, I can't. I need to attend the event unless I have a *good* reason not to. But that could just be my family's silly rule... so I need to hear from my readers. What do you think?

12 comments:

Amanda said...

Idk...i think you should just suck it up and go. That way you dont have to feel guilty about going...your mom wont give you crap...and afterall....it is family.

Heather said...

Are we secretly related? Of course my Mother would expect me to go - and since it is "family" I should probably call and see what dish I should bring too.

BUT, do "I" think you should go - you shouldn't have to. You have the right to turn down an invitation.

But will you feel guilty because you know your Mother is expecting you to make an appearance? If so, probably easier to suck it up and drop by (can you do a quicker drop by if you are solo?). Which sucks.

erin said...

well...if it's only that you sort of don't feel like going...then you should go...

if it was just a wine tasting or a housewarming then you are under no obligation...

but it is a significant event in the person's life and you are special enough to be included...it may not be *family* but it sounds like it's close...

just put in an appearance...sorry about the drive!

My Reality said...

We have family friends who invite us to things and in their eyes, an invite means you HAVE to come. If you don't, you risk being black listed. It isn't fair or rational, it is just the way it is.

Would I go? Maybe, maybe not. If it were me, I would likely not go just to prove my point to my mother. But then again, I have issues with my mother.

E. Phantzi said...

I think if you've done the cost/benefit analysis and feel that on balance it's better for your family to stay home, then stay home. It seems like generally speaking though there is a social expectation that unless you CAN'T attend (previously scheduled conflict, illness, etc.) you should. Which is why we sometimes recur to the little white lie "Oh, I'm so sorry, we have a thing..."

FosterAbba said...

I don't see an invitation as an obligation to attend.

If it were, we'd be in the poorhouse as we have family members who reside out of the country who want us to come visit. If we accepted every invitation, we'd be carrying thousands of dollars of travel debt on our credit cards.

Dora said...

I'm a wimp. I'd fake a migraine.

Reena said...

You don't have to go :)

www.stillwaitingformysunshine.wordpress.com

Hollyn said...

Being the wife of a military officer, we have SO many social obligations. Usually one a weekend. It's frustrating. Pickle works 45-60 hours a week and sometimes I'd like to just sit at home. We go... because it's what is expected of us. Most of the time we have a blast, it's just the "getting ready to go" with two kids and a husband that apparently can't dress himself.
I currently don't have to worry about it, as Pickle is gone until Christmastime (which will bring about a whole slew of NEW obligations.. welcome home parties, Christmas parties, Welcome home/Christmas parties). Like I said, sometimes I just wish I could sit at home. :)

Aurelia said...

Your perfect excuse is not late in pregnancy, not with a toddler, not when you are exhausted.

And this could change over time, but right now, it fits.

Even in the always come because you are obligated circles it fits.

Gil said...

I don't think an invitation constitutes an obligation. No. And I'd never expect that any of my invitations constitute an obligation.

That said, when someone invites me to something, I see it as an obligation to go unless I have a helluva good reason not to. It's the way I was brought up too.

So personally, if I really didn't want to go, I would FIND a reason not to. A migraine or being really uncomfortable late in a pregnancy would be just the reason! Just my two cents worth...

Jay3fer said...

Just saw this now. What did you end up doing?

Sometimes I am so happy to be a hermit and only see family or friends when they die.

Well, okay, I don't see THEM at that point. But I am very consoling. Really!