The Party Line: When to Invite Co-Workers
Dear Ms. Demeanor:
I'm quite friendly with several people in my office, and whenever I'm giving a party, I always debate inviting them, but I end up not doing it. Our office isn't that big and I don't want to insult the uninvited people. I feel bad, though, because I'd like to have my friends from the office at my parties. So I'm torn in half; is there an easy way to deal with this?
The simplest way to deal with this is to send out written invitations with an RSVP to your home telephone number. For your co-workers' invitations, you might add a note next to the RSVP number that says, "Since this is a small party, it's best not to discuss it at the office." Honestly, it really is poor form to talk about party invitations with people you aren't sure have been invited. As such, it makes such a note unnecessary. However, if you can't bank on others' good manners, it's better to ensure some discretion with a note.
Should anyone question you, you can repeat that it was indeed a small party, and you had only enough room for a few co-workers you thought might have the same interests as some of your other friends. You do not have to apologize for anything, although you might say, "Wouldn't it be great if we all had large enough spaces to include everyone!" But if you throw a large party, you should invite either the whole gang or no one.