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Miss Manners: Graduation event not for everyone

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I will get only six to 10 tickets for my college graduation. I have a clear list of whom I want to invite, but my grandmother keeps pushing me to get extra tickets to include all my aunts, uncles, cousins and other extended family and friends of hers from church.

I disagree because I feel I should invite only those who have helped me along the way, and those who I really want to be there. Most of my extended family either doesn’t know me very well, hasn’t helped me at all, or has repeatedly hurt or angered me over the years.

Does proper etiquette say I have to use my grandmother’s list, or may I use my own list since it’s my event?

GENTLE READER: What your grandmother does not seem to understand is that relatives who have hitherto shown no particular interest in you – let alone her friends, who might not even know you – will not be thrilled to be invited to your graduation.

In fact – trust Miss Manners – they will be annoyed.

It takes a strong emotional involvement with the graduate to make it rewarding to sit in an auditorium (or in the sun or the rain) listening to assorted speeches and several hundred names being called out while dodging parent-armed cameras. Your grandmother feels this involvement and must be invited, but she is dreaming to think that everyone she knows does.

Rather they will be fretting about having to come up with excuses and wondering if this means they have to give you graduation presents. (It doesn’t.)

Try explaining to your grandmother, perhaps with the help of whichever parent is her child, that you would feel dreadful about appearing to impose any such obligations on others. This is a more attractive argument than the “my event” one.

If it doesn’t work, you will have to fall back on your inability to get the tickets. Your grandmother will conclude that college has not fitted you to fight your way in the world, but so be it.



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