I’m currently organizing a mom’s night out, but there’s an issue. There’s one mom none of us really want to include, but we’re afraid that we’ll hurt her feelings if we don’t include her and she hears about our night out. See, while we’re all friendly, we’re not all friends. We’re bound by our children’s friendships with one another. But just because our kids are friends, doesn’t mean we’re automatically friends as well. So while I try to be inclusive and kind, I do have some rules for choosing who goes (and who doesn’t) when I’m the one making the plans…
1. If you’re organizing a mom’s night out with moms from your child’s school, include everyone. Remember, your kids are going to be in school with the same kids (and the same families) for a long time. You don’t have to like everyone, but if you’re organizing a night out for moms from the class, include all the moms from the class. You don’t want to become known as the mean mom who treats her kid’s school like a sorority of her own.
2. If you’re part of a small group who regularly gets together, invite everyone every time. If there are four or five friends who get together for birthdays and holidays, don’t exclude one person in the group sometimes and include her other times. If you’re all in a tight-knit group then you all have to play nicely in the sandbox and no one should be left wondering why she didn’t get the text message.
3. Avoid posting photos of your night out on social media, if someone’s feelings might get hurt. Sometimes, you just want a night out with certain people. If there’s someone who might get her feelings hurt wondering why she wasn’t included, don’t document your fun on Facebook and Instagram. There’s no reason to leave permanent proof that you had a party without the whole group.
4. When you do get together with just a friend or two, don’t feel guilty about it. You are allowed to get together with one or two friends sometimes. You are!
5. Invite “fringe” friends whenever possible. It’s dinner, not a lifetime commitment. So if someone is on the fringes of the group, why not invite her? If she really bugs you, get there early and strategically choose your seat so you’re not nearby. No one will notice and you will have saved yourself the trouble of leaving someone out.
6. If you really don’t like someone, you don’t have to include her. Let’s face it: You’re not going to like everybody. And you’re not always going to want to spend your free time with someone you’re not partial to. So if you’re in charge, you don’t have to include her…unless #2 applies or the other moms in the group want to include her.
Ultimately, if you’re the social organizer you get to choose who is on the guest list. So while it’s totally cool to be discerning about who you spend your time with, understand there can be consequences to excluding people. It’s usually easier to include everyone than explain why you excluded someone. And that way, no one will have to explain why she excluded you when the tables are turned and she’s organized the girl’s night out.