Because You Are Polite

by Ginger Philbrick

How do you respond when you invite a friend for brunch and they accept and then ask if it’s ok that they bring their new (boring, tedious, complaining) girlfriend?

Perplexed, Kilmarnock

Dear Perplexed, you have happy and delicious plans to hostess a brunch with a good friend and WHAM! suddenly, the vision changes. I understand your frustration.

You don’t say whether all involved are females so, because I know this situation to be a familiar one among females, I am taking the liberty of assuming they all are.

In our civil society, though it seems to be becoming ruder, it is still unacceptable to be totally honest and say flatly, “No, it is not okay for you to bring your distasteful friend.”

The degree of dislike for the uninvited person should come into play here. If your reaction is a mildly negative one, you could say, “June, I had hoped you and I would have time for just the two of us to catch up on our news. I don’t think April would enjoy that. Do you mind if we don’t include her this time?” You have not risked enmity between you and your friend by tipping your hand as to your dislike of her friend, but any reasonable person would understand that an invitation for a third party is not desirable for this occasion…and drop the issue.

In your current situation, though, where you leave little doubt as to the degree of your discomfort with this third person, you might want to address the problem squarely so that you won’t have to deal with it again. In the kindest voice possible explain, “June, I want to be honest with you, although broaching this subject is difficult for me. I know you and April are very good friends, and I respect that, but I simply do not enjoy being with her. I hope you will understand that including her would be very unpleasant for me.” Of course, you could (gently) add some of your reasons, if pressed to do so. 

In the latter scenario, you have been forthright but you have been kind. It should make the quiche go down easier.

Ginger Philbrick is the owner of Because You Are Polite LLC. You are invited to email your manners questions to her and she will respond as time and space allow. You may contact her at