No shows to dinner

by Susan Holmes
(Ferndale, WA. USA)

We invited my husband’s sister and husband to dinner. We had all not seen one another for awhile and they had called to say they would like to get together. We invited them to come at 5:00 two nights hence saying that we would prepare a steak dinner for them. They have dined with us many times in the past and know that if we invite guests to dinner, we are not going to serve fish sticks; we will have drinks and appetizers followed by a full course dinner and dessert. We had prepared much of the food, and had the steaks seasoned and warming to room temperature. At 5:45, they had not arrived and so I called. My sister-in-law said that their son and family who live about 90 miles away had come up for an event and came to their house following the event. They had not known he was coming. They said they had called my husband’s mobile phone at 3:00 and left a message. The mobile phone was in the car so we did not receive the message. At 3:00,dinner prep was already underway.


We were annoyed and I then sent a text asking that going forward they please use one of the other two phone members we had given them to ensure we get the message. I did also say that we had gone to some expense on the food which would not have been necessary had we known that they were not coming. In retrospect, I probably should not have added that last part, however the situation was somewhat exasperating. They then seized on that response as reason not to talk to us for two years in spite of my husband letting them know we were willing to move past this. They maintain they did nothing rude or inappropriate. What would be appropriate in this situation?

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No shows to dinner
by: Ms P Etiquette

Dear Susan,

I can understand your exasperation in this situation and see the issue from both sides. To mend fences, you should call them and express your mistake in the second part of the text message you sent and that you would like to mend the relationship. Since you wrote the text, they are likely wanting to hear from you. Hopefully, at that point, they will acknowledge their role in this and things will move forward. It is unfortunate that this occurred and hopefully both sides can move forward.

Best of luck!

Ms. Practical Etiquette

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