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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Miss Manners: Self-invitations are almost always rude

Judith Martin Universal Uclick

DEAR MISS MANNERS: At the end of a date, a young man suggested (repeatedly) that we go back to my house for a drink. (My house was much closer than his.)

Is it unreasonable to say “yes” to such a request and still expect him to go home after an hour or two? He had never been invited to my house before, nor I to his.

Was it rude of me to let him know that he was about to miss the last train? Was it rude of him to invite himself over?

I’m guessing that it would be best never to let him get near my house in the first place. I enjoyed chatting with him over a drink, but it didn’t seem worth enduring the awkward moment of kicking him out.

GENTLE READER: General rule: Do not say yes to self-invited guests who only inspire you to wonder how you will get rid of them. (This rule does not apply to close relatives.)

It also seems to Miss Manners that there could be more than a curfew problem if you accepted this reverse-invitation, as she gathers you did not. That he needed to be reminded that his last train home was imminent should have answered any doubt you might have had about his intention to go home at all, let alone early.

The usual way to demur is to say, “I’ve had a lovely evening, but I’m too tired” or, if you want to conclude the association, simply, “I’m afraid I have a headache.”

But the train excuse was ostensibly helpful, so it was not rude. Self-invitations, however, even with the purest of intentions, are questionable. Not taking no for an answer is clearly rude.

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