Should I attend my friend's family reunion?

Should I attend my friend's family reunion?

My longtime friend is hosting a family reunion at her home the end of October and wants me to attend. I live hundreds of miles away and would have to fly in (she has offered to pay for my airfare). I am very uncomfortable with this as there should be about 30 in attendance and I only know her, her mother, and her brother. She is not close with her mother and I have not seen her brother for 35 yrs. When I told her that I have no desire to attend she was insulted and asked why I didn't want to meet her family and then why I didn't want to speak to them. There are no planned activities but it is doubling as a costume/Halloween party.

My question is this - In general, who should be invited to family reunions.

There are more circumstances. She lives close to where we grew up and where my family still lives. I have stayed at her house a couple of times while visiting my own family but do not feel like that obligates me to make a special trip up there to be with hers, am I wrong?

Thanks, Lisa

Aug 05, 2011
Attend the Family Reunion or Not?
by: Kevin (Modern Manners and Etiquette)

Your question is an interesting one. Let's handle the simple part of your question first and then we will get into the more complex part of it.

According to traditional family reunion etiquette, usually only family members are invited. Even then, due to space limitations at many of these events, the invites only go to certain branches of the family. The only time that a friend or neighbor should be invited is if they know the majority of those that will be attending.

In your case, since you really do not know these people, being invited to a family reunion would be uncomfortable not only for you, but many of the family members would wonder why you were invited once they find out who you are.

That is the easy part of the question. The more difficult part lies with how you communicate with your friend. Her heart is in the right place and you should be flattered that she thinks enough of you to invite you to an event that is purely a family function.

I would recommend talking to her about your feelings. I think she would understand if you let her know that there will only be a couple of people there that you know and that you would feel uncomfortable. She needs to understand that it isn't because you do not want to meet her family. It is just the wrong time/place to do it.

A more acceptable time to do it would be at a birthday party or something like that where it is common practice to have friends and family at the same event.

I hope that helps. Good luck!

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