Sage Advice: Life in New Town Brings Invitations for Shake Downs

By Amy Dickinson | June 6th, 2018

We settled in, started a family and set about becoming a part of the community. In the beginning, when I received an invitation somewhere, I was excited to go and hopeful that I would make some new friends.

I soon realized that most of these invitations were to parties where something was being sold: jewelry, home-goods, kitchenware, etc. I have never felt the need to spend money at these parties on overpriced things that I don’t need, just for the sake of lining someone else’s pocket.

I stopped going to these parties and have grown to resent these invitations. I feel insulted when I receive them now. It’s a reminder that these people have never bothered to extend an invitation for lunch or coffee, but always remember me when they want people with money to come to their parties.

I was just invited to a graduation party for a child I’ve never met, thrown by a woman who has never invited me anywhere else except to these “buy” parties.

I look at it as a money grab and plan to decline the invite.

Am I overreacting?

– Feeling Used

Dear Feeling Used: Yes, you are overreacting. Speaking as someone who receives countless “invitations” to donate my time and (various) talents to individuals or causes, I well understand the annoyance of feeling forced to respond to an invitation that is actually a transaction. But then I remember that people have the right to ask anything of anyone.

You can respond, or not. What you shouldn’t do is resent the inclusion, especially if the person offering it doesn’t know that you don’t want to be included.

When it comes to sales parties, you respond with a simple, “Please take me off your invitation list.”

My theory is that the sort of people who engage in sales parties (women, mostly), are also social self-starters who constantly connect without regard to the nuance of any given situation. And so the woman who invited you to the graduation party for the child you’d never met just has a list of people she works from. She throws her invitations into the air, hoping for a 30 percent acceptance rate.

It is also possible that she likes you and thinks of you as a friend, but is numb to the intimacy that graduation celebrations generally reflect.

You never mention making any social inroads, yourself. To make friends, you have to be brave enough to risk a bid for intimacy, understanding that (in your neighborhood) your invitation for coffee might be misconstrued to be a franchise opportunity. All the same, I hope you’ll try.

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2018 by Amy Dickinson

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