‘Plus-one’ not ideal, but ac­cept it any­way

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - PARTIES ETC. - Ju­dith Martin

DEAR MISS MAN­NERS: I am a woman in my late 20s, who has been in a re­la­tion­ship with an­other woman for go­ing on five years now. My fam­ily is not es­pe­cially sup­port­ive, but there are times that I do re­ceive for­mal in­vi­ta­tions to events from ex­tended fam­ily (think wed­dings, bar/bat mitz­vahs, etc.) that in­clude my name and a plus-one.

My mother, who is ve­he­mently un­sup­port­ive of my re­la­tion­ship, keeps try­ing to tell me that ac­cept­ing a plu­sone on an in­vi­ta­tion is rude. She tells me that the peo­ple host­ing the event are only giv­ing me a plus-one to ap­pear po­lite, and that if I bring some­one else, it will cost the hosts money, so I shouldn’t ac­cept it. I’d like to think that my fam­ily mem­bers are show­ing pas­sive sup­port by of­fer­ing me a plus-one, even if they are not list­ing my part­ner’s name on the in­vi­ta­tion. In my opin­ion, an of­fer­ing of a plu­sone should al­ways be seen as gen­uine!

My mother also in­sists that as maid of honor in my sis­ter’s wed­ding, I was not sup­posed to bring a plu­sone to the re­hearsal din­ner, de­spite other brides­maids’ plus-ones be­ing in­cluded. She is very con­cerned with po­lite­ness and ap­pear­ances, so nor­mally I do de­fault to her, but given this dilemma, I am driven to ask you, Miss Man­ners, for your ex­per­tise and ad­vice.

GEN­TLE READER: A mis­guided at­tempt to make their sin­gle guests feel more “com­fort­able,” plus-one com­mu­ni­cates in­stead that the host does not want — or can­not be both­ered — to find out the names of any se­ri­ous part­ners.

Invit­ing any­one to a for­mal event should be done us­ing that per­son’s name. In your case, it was prob­a­bly a pas­sive — if still rude — at­tempt on your sis­ter’s part to in­vite your part­ner with­out di­rectly ac­knowl­edg­ing her. Your mother’s use of made-up eti­quette rules is a pas­sive way of re­ject­ing that at­tempt. If your sis­ter specif­i­cally asked you to in­vite some­one, you may do so — and pas­sively ig­nore your mother’s ad­vice to do oth­er­wise.

DEAR MISS MAN­NERS: When in­vited to a party or a so­cial event at our good friends’ home, they al­ways ask, “What will you be bring­ing?” Is it rude for them to ask or pre­sume we are bring­ing any­thing? At one party, they put out a sign-up list and be­gan to hound guests who didn’t re­spond to the sign-up.

They claim they need to know, due to al­ler­gies. Wouldn’t it be bet­ter if they just re­minded guests not to bring cer­tain food items to avoid the dan­ger? This pre­sump­tu­ous be­hav­ior has alien­ated some of our group. They are quite put off by it.

GEN­TLE READER: This is not po­lite be­hav­ior. Nor a sin­cere in­vi­ta­tion. It is bad enough that guests have be­gun ubiq­ui­tously ask­ing what they should bring to a party. The hosts should cer­tainly not be so­lic­it­ing it, nor bad­ger­ing their donors. If hosts are wor­ried about their own al­ler­gies, then they should pro­vide the food.

Please send your ques­tions to Miss Man­ners at her web­site, www.miss­man­ners.com; to her email, dearmiss­man­ners@gmail. com; or through postal mail to Miss Man­ners, An­drews McMeel Syn­di­ca­tion, 1130 Wal­nut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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