Wednesday, February 24, 2010

An endless loop

One of the true-to-life comic strips included in Shifra Gluck’s charming Shikufitzky 3 opens with the mother glancing at an invitation.

Loosely translated (we only have the Hebrew edition), the thought bubble over her head reads:

“I’m surprised that Mrs. Levy invited me. After all, we hardly know each other. But of course I’ll go anyway, because I don’t want to insult her…”

And then in the final panel, the mother arrives at the simchah and wishes mazal tov to the hostess, who’s thinking:

“I’m surprised that Mrs. Shikufitzky showed up. After all, we hardly know each other. I only sent her an invitation, because I didn’t want to insult her…”

I’m sure I’m not the only one who can relate to both characters.

It all starts out innocently enough.

Picture this:

You’re compiling the guest list for your upcoming simchah, and you wonder what to do about the X’s.

They’re very nice and all, but to be perfectly honest, you don’t have much to do with them. Yet, you feel you should invite them anyway.

Maybe they’re new to the neighborhood, and this is a great way to welcome them. Maybe you move in the same circles, and you’re inviting everyone else in the group.

Or maybe, they invited you to their recent simchah, and now you have to invite them back.

And there’s the rub.

Because once you invite them, they’re definitely going to feel obligated to return the favor.

And, then, before you know it, you’re both trapped in {shudder} the dreaded Cycle of Invitations…

{cue: wild, maniacal laughter}

How do you handle this delicate situation*? Do you have a way to extricate yourself from this never-ending cycle? Or does it just keep going and going and going…



* Yes, I’m well aware that this falls squarely in the category of  high-class problems… :-)


  1. If I got such an invitation, I'd probably wonder whether I'd be likely to see them frequently in which case it'd be better to accept the invitation. Except if I felt I'd really not get on well with them - whatever the reason(s).

  2. This is funny! And no, I'm not going to solve the dilemma. I'm going to sit back and enjoy it.

    Better to send a thank you note (or some other innocuous way of thanking someone) than spending a whole afternoon entertaining a family with whom one doesn't connect.

    Sounds like something out of a Jane Austen novel.

  3. Oh, yes!!! Can I ever relate! Then there is also the dreaded question: if you invited someone to previous affairs are you obligated to invite them to all subsequent affairs? Between bar miztvah 1 and 2 we said yes but by bar mitzvah 3 we bit the bullet and didnt invite everyone we'd invited previously...

  4. Ilana-Davita - I agree. If refusing an invitation means that someone's feelings will be hurt, it's certainly not worth it!

    Leora - Sounds like something out of a Jane Austen novel.
    LOL! :-)

    Malke - I had a feeling you might appreciate this post. All our real life conversations on the subject kind of gave it away... :-)

  5. There have been invitations where I felt that I was being invited only because of one of the reasons you stated and I politely declined, stating we had a "family" event to attend to. There are times, Thank G-d when there are so many events you can spend half your life at parties. You can't say yes to everything.

    May we only celebrate smachot with family friends and even mere acquaintances!

  6. May we only celebrate smachot with family friends and even mere acquaintances!
    Amen! And don't forget about blogging-turned-real-life friends! :-)


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