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longgone's avatar

Do/would you ask your child to invite a class mate they didn't like?

Asked by longgone (7458 points ) June 12th, 2014

My sister (Rae, 13) celebrated her birthday recently. In her class, there is a pretty shy girl who feels excluded regularly…let’s call her Meg. Rae treats her nicely. For her party, though, she invited a bunch of very active and outgoing girls. She did not invite Meg – who, incidentally, adores her.

I spent some time wondering whether I should talk to Rae about this. Before I could make a decision, she approached me, asking for advice on how to handle Meg. After talking it through, my sister decided to invite Meg to a little separate party she was planning with a couple of kindergarten friends. She made this decision on her own, saying that she didn’t want to give Meg a reason to feel excluded.Everyone was happy, and I’m pretty proud of Rae for being so considerate.

I’m wondering whether, if your kid didn’t happen to ask, you’d give your opinion anyway. I think forcing friends on children is borderline cruel. On the other hand…well, I just felt sorry for the girl. What do you say?

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24 Answers

longgone's avatar

To clarify: My sister does actually like Meg – in a way. It’s hard not to, she’s very sweet.

However, the two are not very alike, and I doubt they will become friends at all.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

It’s not very much fun being excluded as you plan to do to this allegedly sweet girl. Who cares if they will become friends?

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

It is beyond mean to exclude a girl from a party when many of her classmates have been invited. my grandson had his ninth birthday party a few months ago. we told him if he planned on inviting anyone in his class our rule is that everyone should be invited. even the kid that he said is not nice to him.

about ¾ of the kids RSVP yes they would attend. The boy that gives him a bad time actually came and all the kids got along.

when I was young I was shy and I can’t tell you how many times I cried myself to sleep when the other popular girls had parties and did not invite me. I would never as a grown up do that to another kid.

longgone's avatar

@Dan_Lyons Re-read the details, please. Meg was thrilled at being invited to a party better suited to her temperament.

@BeenThereSaidThat I didn’t make it clear, but no-one is being excluded. If we had invited anywhere near the entire class, of course everyone would have been included!! We’re talking about a party with the birthday girl and five guests. It was a sleepover. In her class, there are easily 25 students, which is a group too large, IMO, for most party activities. None of the other students invite the entire class, either.

Judi's avatar

25 kids, maybe 12 or 13 girls so about half have been excluded. I would have cried myself to sleep too. I agree with both of the above.

longgone's avatar

^ Five girls.

Do all of you invite such large groups? No-one did when I was a kid, and I never cried myself to sleep…maybe it’s a regional thing.

I really doubt any of the girls I’m talking about were crying, though…it’s what is done here. They expect to be invited by their friends, which they are – and that’s it.

Judi's avatar

I meant half of the girls in the class were excluded.

longgone's avatar

^ I realize that – I meant to point out that, if anything, twenty girls were excluded, since we only invited five.

Judi's avatar

I figured half of the class would be boys.

flip86's avatar

Birthday parties should be family events with one, maybe two, friends. No need to invite half your class.

josie's avatar

Can’t have too many friends

Seek's avatar

Kids know when they’re at a party because of parental pity.

It’s much kinder to just throw a party on the downlow and never let the quiet girl know it’s happening.

Trust me.

chyna's avatar

Kids talk. The girls not invited will know.
However, the two are not very alike, and I doubt they will become friends at all. My best friend for the past 40 years is my exact opposite. I can’t imagine what I would have been without her in my life all these years.

Seek's avatar

Even if she does, being invited out of pity is the worst.

Remember Carrie? That shit is real.

rojo's avatar

At that age, 13, girls can certainly be cruel and vicious. If you do not invite her the other girls are to be sure to let her know that she was not invited to gain a little one-upmanship and to gauge just what it does take to rip someones heart out.

I guess what it would come down to for me is “Are you inviting everybody BUT her or are you inviting a small group of friends and there are several other girls in the class who will not be invited. If the former, invite her for sure.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m confused. I’ve been confused a lot today. The birthday girl is 13, but she is inviting some a kindergaten friends to another party? Does that mean she has known the girls since kindergarten, but they are not in her class this year?

My opinion is for a sleepover it’s ok to have just 5 girls, because parents often limit the amount of friends for a sleepover. If Meg and Rae spend a lot of time together then I can’t see excluding her from the main party. Since she is shy I might give her a choice and tell Meg I am having two parties and actually let her choose which she prefers. if they don’t spend a lot of time together then it isn’t a big deal since only a few best friends are being invited.

I’m with @Judi on the numbers. If the class is 25 students (she is 13 and doesn’t change classes during the day?) then 5 girls is about half the girls, so my assumption als was half the girls are left out. I guess maybe we are talking about an all girls school? I am still confused about that part also.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

If you were inviting the whole class then yes, I would have not agreed to excluding one child. In this case, your sister invited her (presumably) closer friends and there were a group of children not invited. I’m sure it would still hurt if you were one of the excluded girls but your sister wasn’t being cruel to that one girl.

Your sister sounds very mature and I think her compromise was very nice. She made a special time for the quieter girl.

Luiveton's avatar

I would never force a child to invite someone IF they have a good reason not to (i.e. other child is a bully etc.)
BUT if it’s someone like Meg, then I would teach my child to treat everyone nicely regardless of what others think of them/their different personality traits. I would say ‘Never exclude someone because they’re different. Be sweet to everyone, in front of everyone. Don’t be two-faced. You think she’s weird, but do you know her? She might be the most loyal friend you’ll ever get, once you enter her comfort zone. So don’t judge someone unless you’ve truly spent time with them and gotten to know them as a person, not a classmate’.
And if my child still doesn’t want to, then the problem is with my child, not the ‘weird’ classmate etc.

However Rae seems nice, the only advice I’d give her is to be nice to Meg in front of her ‘active and outgoing’ friends. In fact maybe she should help Rae make friends.

longgone's avatar

Thanks for answering!

@Judi I’m sorry – I didn’t read your comment carefully. Late night fluthering. You’re right, of course…while less than half the students are boys, there are some.

@Seek We definitely didn’t want her to feel pitied in any way. You’re right, I’d imagine that to be horrible.

@chyna Well, if the two ever get friendly, I wouldn’t dream of trying to stop them. Right now, though, they aren’t friends…would you have invited the entire class, as some others said?

@rojo Never. We wouldn’t dream of excluding a single girl (or two or three, even). That’s just cruel.

@JLeslie Sorry for the confusion. Friends since kindergarten, exactly. They’ve changed schools by now. The two don’t spend a lot of time together, outside of school. The thing is just that Meg really seems to like Rae. “She is 13 and doesn’t change classes during the day?” We don’t, in Germany. It’s basically the same group all day, all year.

@Earthbound_Misfit I’ll pass on the compliment :]

@Luiveton She already does befriend her. I think it’s exhausting to her, at times – so I understood her wanting to spend a special day with her “besties”. Especially as she found a solution which made Meg very happy.

This has inspired me to ask a new question

chyna's avatar

would you have invited the entire class, as some others said? Actually, we never had birthday parties when we were kids and didn’t know anyone who did.

JLeslie's avatar

@longgone I see. Well, I think it is very nice that your sister even considers Meg’s feelings. It’s a hard balance to worry about others and not let it drain us or take advantage of us. This sort of thing continues throughout life doesn’t it. Who to invite to a wedding is one of the big ones. I always try to tell people not to be hurt when they are not invited when there is limited time, space and money. It’s very difficult for the person planning the party, because usually they worry about who will feel left out. Hopefully, Meg’s parents have taught her the same if she finds out about the sleepover and feels left out.

longgone's avatar

@chyna Okay. In that case, you might have a hard time answering… I get your point about very different people sometimes making the best friends, though.

@JLeslie Tell me about it. So much hassle. It has put me off celebrating birthdays at all, several times.

JLeslie's avatar

@longgone My mom told me after 8 years old no more birthday parties. I did have one sleepover party when I was around 13 though. At least in your community they don’t all do big parties where you have to invite everyone. A few close friends sounds ok.

longgone's avatar

@JLeslie Indeed. I’m glad I never felt obligated to invite twenty people – funny how that differs, depending on your community.

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