By Azure Nelson,
Published Sep 23, 2010
Dear Wedding Maven,
I need your advice regarding inviting co-workers! I know most people say that unless you socialize with them outside of work, you should not invite them, but I work for a small company and have become quite close to a couple of people. If I invite just a couple, then there are several that will get extremely upset (high school behavior in 40-plus year olds!). But I also feel that if I don't invite my "friends" then they will feel slighted. I did ask a coworker what she thought, and she said it might look as if I'm fishing for gifts - which I absolutely am not. These people are just fun, crazy people to hang out with. Help, please!!
Dear Worker Bee,
It’s funny that you mention high school because so much of what we feel in high school doesn’t really go away.
No one wants to feel unpopular, no one wants to feel left out and no one wants to feel like they’re being used. The difference is that as we grow older we hopefully learn to take things a little less personally. We understand that not everyone can be included in every event. We hopefully also learn that being mean isn’t necessary, that other people’s feelings are as important as are own, that some thoughts are better left unsaid and that you can’t please everyone.
The best rules of thumb for this situation are those that you learned long before high school, way back in grade school with birthday parties. If you’re inviting half or more of the class, you should invite everyone. If you aren’t inviting everyone don’t distribute the invitations at school. If you aren’t inviting everyone then no birthday talk at school.
It sounds like although your co-workers are “fun, crazy people to hang out with” that you don’t actually spend time with them outside of the office. If that’s the case, then your coworker is right, getting an invitation to your wedding when you’ve never even been out for drinks may strike some people as a gift grab. But this is one of those times when you really can’t please everyone. People who want to think poorly of you will do so, no matter what you do.
Assuming that the company is larger than six people, if you really are talking about just two or three people with whom you are friends outside of work, then yes, go ahead and invite them (and your boss, really, you should).
No matter what your decision, the best way you can prevent both hurt feelings and appearing unprofessional is by making sure that your wedding is not a topic of office conversation. Don’t solicit opinions on your hair, menu, or guest list. Don’t do your planning at work, and try and deflect questions with vague answers that stress how small your wedding is.
Keep the drama, stress and worry to a minimum and others will follow suit.
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