Three rules for attending social events
A recent clash among people I know has reminded me that there are three rules for attending social events, such as a group of friends or relatives doing something together:
- Always have access to your own transportation. This is especially true for women or other people who could, in a worst-case scenario, be victimized by one or more members of the group. Meet the group somewhere, and always bring your own vehicle or have ready access to a train or a taxi, so that if the group changes the itinerary in an undesirable way, or if the group turns on you, you can leave quickly under your own power. Having to rely on someone else for transportation after the event has gone horribly wrong is uncomfortable at best, and can be downright dangerous at worst.
- Unless you are the event organizer, do not invite other people without the organizer’s permission. Doing so can cause hurt feelings and conflict, because you are changing the terms of your invitation to the event unilaterally. That is socially unacceptable, and can earn you the justifiable disapprobation of the group, not to mention that it can make the event very uncomfortable for your unauthorized invitee.
- Always make sure that your financial commitment is on your own terms. Buy your own tickets and make your own reservations, for example; do not allow the group to do it for you at your expense. That way, you maintain control over your attendance and your money, and you have a better chance of getting your money back if you need to back out for one reason or another.
I watched an acquaintance violate rule 2 recently, sparking conflict with the event organizer. My acquaintance’s ignorance of etiquette, though not surprising, is still inexcusable, and the organizer was justified in their response. It reminds me of why I very rarely engage in group outings. It’s just simpler to avoid them, because at least half the time there’s conflict. Martians don’t like conflict, especially when it’s avoidable through good planning.