Ask B: Birthday Party Invite Drama

Dear B, 

My daughter recently celebrated her 16th birthday, and invited 10 friends to share in the fun. Not everyone in her class was invited because we had limitations with the size of the venue. A few of the girls posted pictures of the party on Instagram, and one girl who wasn’t invited to the party, saw the picture and has been very upset ever since. She is not a close friend of my daughter, however she was so upset that she has skipped school, and can’t take her final exams. Her mother has also called me several times to discuss why her daughter wasn’t invited. I feel terrible that this girl’s feelings are hurt, and I’m not sure what to say to her mother, and this has now been going on for weeks. Do you have any advice on what I can say to her mom?


Mother of the B-Day Girl


This is a tough situation indeed! A tough situation on both sides – for your daughter and her classmate. For your daughter, it was her birthday party and so she decided who she wanted to include, which I’m sure was a hard decision given that she could only invite 10 friends. For your daughter’s classmate, it was disheartening because she wasn’t included and no one wants to be left out. However, as you and I both know, not everyone is invited to everything, be it a 16th birthday party or a ladies luncheon. That’s just life and we all experience being left out at one time or another! The important thing, is to use this as a teachable moment. So your daughter can understand how this girl is feeling, consider talking with her about a time she was left out, and ask how it made her feel. And for the future, if she is ever left out of a party, listen and validate her feelings, and teach her to be the bigger person. Suggest you two have a fun mother-daughter outing or she invite a friend to get together on the party day. As for what to say to the classmate’s mom: empathize with her daughter’s feelings of disappointment, and share that your daughter was only able to invite 10 friends (explain why, i.e., due to size of the venue). Something to chat over with your daughter – see if she and this classmate can meet for frozen yogurt or lunch one Saturday to get to know each other better – and if she’s open to the idea (I hope she is!), suggest that to the mom when you speak with her. Good luck!

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