Friends and family don’t get along? Not your problem
I have a dilemma. Every year I have an annual Christmas party, just a small gathering of a few family and friends. But unfortunately, one of my family members does not get along with one of my friends. I invited these two last year and it went OK, but since then they have had words. If I don’t invite both of them I will hurt their feelings. I don’t know what to do! I can’t afford to have two parties. Do I just not have the party this year?
— Sarah from Sherman, Ill.
Jenny says: One thing is certain in life — everyone you know will not like everyone else you know. For one reason or another some people will just never see eye to eye. But that’s their problem; don’t make it your problem.
A couple of thoughts: If the feud is because one of them slept with the other person’s spouse, then I understand the animosity. But if not, are these people 9 years old? Because they’re certainly acting like
Perhaps you should set up a small kids’ table, like we used to do around the holidays. But instead of putting the kids there, you should make your two friends sit at the table and you should pour them grape juice in wine glasses. Every once in a while go up to each of them, spit on your finger and rub their cheeks with your spit-covered digit like you’re trying to scrape food off of their faces. Then ask them frequently in a high-pitched voice, “Do you have to go poopie? Tell me when you have to go poopie.” And then explain to them, “If you are going to act like a child, I will treat you like a child.”
But seriously, if you want resolution there are several things to consider:
First, is blood thicker than water? If you have to invite one and only one, does family automatically win? If so, the decision is easy. Invite the family member, don’t invite the friend. The friend’s exclusion may serve as a catalyst for patching the rift, but probably not.
Second, you suggested holding the party but not inviting either of them. If you do this, you’re excluding two people from your party who you would like to attend and simultaneously upsetting them both. It’s a real lose-lose.
Third, even if you could afford two parties, you shouldn’t be forced to have two parties simply because two people do not get along. Also, how ridiculous is it to have two parties where 99 percent of the people are the same except for one person?
Finally, you should have the party. Not having the party allows a juvenile feud between two adults to preclude you from celebrating the holidays with your other friends and family.
So, you’re having the party. You’re inviting both of them. You may want to have a private conversation with each of them (separately) and let them know that they are both important to you, and that you want both to attend. Even if they can’t get along with each other, they had better not allow their disdain for each other to interfere with everyone else enjoying the party.
Tell them if they are good and listen to you, they will get an extra cookie and get to watch another episode of “The Smurfs” before bed.
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