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AIBU? I don't seem to understand playdates etc? Can anyone explain what the etiquette is?

(87 Posts)
nat73 Fri 03-Mar-17 09:34:28


When I was primary aged I had playdates and you invited people round and they invited you back. When I had parties I invited my friends and they invited me back.

DC1 is very sociable and every year we have had a party with about 15 guests (mostly from school)and she and the other kids enjoy themselves. It seems not everyone has a party but even those who do we don't always get invited. Typically in a year DC1 gets 3-4 party invites. How does this work? Where have all the parties gone?

Then for the playdates.. we have another family we are good friends with and we have done various stuff to help them out over time (DIY, finding jobs, giving their kids lifts etc). This weekend we'd agreed we would meet up with the kids. When I mentioned it to the Mum this morning she said she'd organised playdates with friends (but not us!). So they are not free this weekend. This is about the 3rd time this has happened.

I am getting really hacked off. We have left tomorrow free to hang out with these people and they have organised something else.... (no apology just told us it wasn't happening)... child's birthday last year they went on a 'treat' so only a small number of chums invited but our child was not. DC explained to me some months later that though they are best friends because we see alot of them the child thought she better invite other people.

Am I missing something? Do I lack emotional intelligence? Is this normal and I making too much of it? Should I ask if our kids have fallen out? I do not want to draw DC1's attention to it. DC1 is well behaved so its not like she's a handful for people!?

It just seems a bit sh!t to me!

Underthemoonlight Fri 03-Mar-17 09:38:15

I wouldn't give it another thought not everyone has class parties and some prefer to take a couple of friends out somewhere totally there choice the same with play dates

cherryrednose Fri 03-Mar-17 09:39:34

That would bother me too but I'm not sure what the answer is. The main thing, as you're already doing, is not to make a thing of it with your dc

nat73 Fri 03-Mar-17 09:43:23

I'm trying not to pass my paranoia on!

So should we just not bother inviting these people (though they are DC1's no. 1 choice) and try other people or do we keep inviting them and hope they will invite us back one day?

DubiousCredentials Fri 03-Mar-17 09:48:04

I think you should view it as you have parties and play dates for the good of your dc and not see it as a reciprocal thing.

The weekend arrangement was rude though imo.

SEsofty Fri 03-Mar-17 09:48:23

Two separate issues.

1. Party. Lots of people don't have parties. So you shouldn't expect the same number of parties as you invite. If the child is invited to some parties then you know it's not a specific problem.

2. These friends are not friends at all and you need to distance yourself

Trifleorbust Fri 03-Mar-17 09:50:21

I think some people are quite strategic about their child's "social life" and will set up play dates with and give invitations to particular children for their own reasons.

BertrandRussell Fri 03-Mar-17 09:52:39

You don't invite expecting a return invitation. Not everybody can/does have parties. Not everyone can invite people back to their house.
Does your child have fun with her friends? If yes, invite. If not, don't. Don't, whatever you do, keep a tally. That way madness lies. Do what you and your child want.

timeforabrewnow Fri 03-Mar-17 09:53:01

Your 'friends' are not friends. I would play it cool and stop doing them so many favours. That is indicating that they don't want to spend time with you if it's the third time they have cancelled.

Very rude of them, and not your lack of emotional intelligence to blame!

BertrandRussell Fri 03-Mar-17 09:54:41

But don't let your child or theirs miss out just because her parents are flaky. If they are good friends facilitate this, even if her parents don't.

sadallthetime Fri 03-Mar-17 09:55:44

After navigating through this minefield let your child pick who comes to your parties. My DD hates parties so does not have them but gets invited .

I remember thinking certain mums were friends but when it came to big occasions I realised I was a mere acquaintance. I was convenient for school runs and play dates.

Just let it be and you will be happier . Kids make their own friends as they get older so it doesn't go on then .

nat73 Fri 03-Mar-17 09:56:05

I think they have some issues with their other child's friends and hence are trying to maintain a wide circle of friends which I totally understand (not to put all your eggs in one basket). But I still find it odd that they seem to be leaving DC1 out.

misscph1973 Fri 03-Mar-17 09:56:32

I'm with you, OP, it's out of order and rude. But sadly it's not uncommon. I have sort of given up and don't expect reciprocal play dates/parties, so when it does happen, it's really nice.

cherryrednose Fri 03-Mar-17 09:56:37

Not sure if I worded previous post right - meant to say that you were obviously aware of not wanting to make a thing of it with your dc.

I remember a lot of this from when dc were that age - there always seemed to be one parent from a group of dc friends who complained of getting left out of arrangements.

And yes, those 'friends' are really not if they can just drop an arrangement like so best to start to distance yourself.

nat73 Fri 03-Mar-17 09:59:13

Thankyou, I feel a bit more sane now. I was starting to wonder if it was just me!!

Spacecadet14 Fri 03-Mar-17 10:01:07

How old is your DC, OP? My DD is in Yr 3 and there seem to be fewer parties the older she gets. Now kids tend to invite o a handful of friends for a cinema outing etc, which is what we plan to do her next b'day. So don't worry about the lack of invites.

But I think the friends who keep cancelling weekend plans are sending you a not-so-subtle message that they're not bothered about hanging out, so you're better off concentrating on friends who do give a toss.

Ineedmorelemonpledge Fri 03-Mar-17 10:04:21

It's not you OP and I think the cancellation of the weekend plans was rather rude.

But ease up on the party feelings - now I'm a single mum for example I can't organise and run a big party for my DS and also he never seems to want one. One of my friends has a huge family so cousins take up a lot of the places and that's difficult too when it comes to remaining invites.

Have the party that your DD wants because it makes her happy.

Sorry you are feeling lousy and hope you have a nice weekend regardless. flowers

IAdoreEfteling Fri 03-Mar-17 10:05:29

I think one of the problems however if there is no invite back - one wonders - do they like your child, are the parents happy for more play dates? It creates a situation where its all one sided.

We don't invite to get invites back but trying to get DD Bf over is a painful laborious process and she is not invited back - fine - but does BF mum actually want them to play together, why does she make it so hard?

IAdoreEfteling Fri 03-Mar-17 10:06:18

Anyway what you need to do is concentrate on other people, throw net wide - does your dc do other clubs, invite back from there, other dc in class etc.

GallivantingWildebeest Fri 03-Mar-17 10:06:42

Those people are not your friends. How fucking rude to accept you doing favours for them and then cancel on you. Sounds like they want to use you, not spend time with you, sadly.

Playdatyes: many people aren't in a position to host playdates (more dc, work, etc.). I'd see playdates as a benefit for your dc, wheverer they're held, and not worry too much about them being reciprocal.

I'd also encourage your dc to make new friends as this one clearly isn't her good friend. sad

Originalfoogirl Fri 03-Mar-17 10:08:39

We often have our girl's friends round. She doesn't often go to theirs. People just do things differently and there is no right or wrong way. If you do lots of stuff for someone, it should be because you want to. If they never return the favour and that annoys you, it seems you are only doing those things in the hope of reciprocation.

I have one family I am always doing stuff for. They never do anything for me. Doesn't bother me in the least. She has four young children, two with disabilities and she is constantly fighting the system. She also has bugger all money and can't afford to get the additional stuff her children need. So, I help her. With advice, with equipment, with time. I would never expect her to reciprocate or feel beholden. I do it because I know I'm incredibly fortunate to be able to get what we need and that the people I need to fight with don't treat me like a silly young SAHM with too many children. I do it because she is my friend.

Our girl gets frequent party invites. She doesn't go to them all, and her own parties are for a few friends at our house. There is no way I can host a party for all the children who invite her to theirs - half the time she barely knows the child.

It really frustrates me when people want to dictate how others should or shouldn't act. If you don't like this family, don't hang out with them. Play dates are not quid pro quo.

jimijack Fri 03-Mar-17 10:09:01

Hmm, I'm second time round, had all this with ds 1, now ds 2 is about to start school and I'm afraid that there is a big element of being able to give a tiny shit about it all.

Parties will be attended, occasional kid round for tea or to play, beyond that nowt.

Admittedly, I do have an aversion to other people's kids, so the torture I endured with ds 1 and his friends, will not be a problem with ds just won't happen.

ScarletChina Fri 03-Mar-17 10:10:33

I've been guilty of this - not the parties, I would always invite DC 'best' friends to a party, and try to reciprocate when we have parties. But - we don't do parties every year, we have never done whole class parties, and DS had a couple of friends that he adored, but I really did not enjoy spending time with their parents.'s possible I seemed aloof to them. Not saying this is you at all OP, but there could be a lot of reasons. However, cancelling an agreed playdate for no reason is extremely rude.

nat73 Fri 03-Mar-17 10:14:25

DC enjoys her parties, which is why we have done them but I've always made/encouraged her to invite everyone, even those she doesnt really like as I thought it wasnt fair to leave people out. But I have to say this year I'll let her decide. One child never replies to the invite or turns up so I think we will take that hint..

HostaFireAndIce Fri 03-Mar-17 10:15:31

I agree, there are two separate issues here. The party one may just be that they have very small parties whereas yours are larger, and I certainly wouldn't necessarily expect a party invite to be reciprocal, especially if I had had quite a large party in the first place.
The play date thing, though, is rude. Essentially it sounds like this was arranged and they cancelled at short notice because they'd arranged to do something with somebody else. I agree with those saying these people are not your friends and, while I would still 'let' your DC invite whoever they want to a party, I wouldn't be trying to arrange another playdate with these people (nor would I be doing them so many favours!).

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