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Sometimes acquaintances or people that I would like to get to know better are setting up some sort of social gathering (bar, party, bowling, etc) and I am not explicitly invited. I know that if I mention it they will invite me, but I feel that mentioning that I would like to go with them is "Inviting myself" and not well received by everyone else involved.

Is there a way to indicate that I am interested in going to whatever social gathering is happening without pressuring people into inviting me if they do not want to?

I live in the United States.

  • 2
    How did you manage to know ? Did they talk about that in front of you ? Or did you hear from others ? – OldPadawan Aug 1 '17 at 12:32
  • @OldPadawan It definitely happens both ways, but for this question let's go with hearing about it from others, I think that is the trickier problem. – Joe S Aug 1 '17 at 12:41
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    The "use-it-only-once" trick : "I plan on [ going place X ] / [ doing stuff Y ] one of these days, do you know it / have you tried already ?". According to the answer, you'll know if you're welcome, or not :/ – OldPadawan Aug 1 '17 at 12:51
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    What country/cultural context is this in? I think the answer heavily depends on what the norms are. What might be considered a hint in some places could be considered imposing yourself in other places. – user288 Aug 2 '17 at 17:53
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    Questions that don't include all aspects of the situation, notably culture, language, faith traditions and other aspects that are relevant, are too broad because they make all answers equally valid. Make sure to create a specific question that outlines anything that is relevant, to assist anyone to develop a fully-informed answer. For more information, please see Interpersonal issues with solutions that are culturally or regionally different? – Zizouz212 Aug 2 '17 at 19:41

10 Answers 10

71

Simply put:

Let me know how that goes - I've always wanted to do that/go there!

This shows that you have an interest in the activity/venue without forcing people into explaining why you're not invited or asking them to invite you.

Passively, you both know that you're asking for an invite, but it allows for both outcomes without embarrassment.

  • 28
    I like this answer. Let me know how that goes does actually more than just not asking to invite you. It conveys a message that you are not even expecting to be invited, seeing as you are going to hear all about if afterwards. – JAD Aug 1 '17 at 14:12
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    "Do take pictures" could be an alternative – JollyJoker Aug 1 '17 at 14:44
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    Are you certain this wouldn't be perceived as indicating the speaker does not want to go in this particular instance? Or even that they are just being polite and don't actually care? – jpmc26 Aug 1 '17 at 22:49
  • I feel like "let me know how that goes" might be a little too far? @JAD interpret is as not expecting to be invited. I feel like it's even outright implying you wouldn't want to go or wouldn't be able to. I think something more neutral about any invitation expectations would be more successful. Eg, "Oh, nice. I've always wanted to do that/go there!". That way nothing gives any indication that you wouldn't expect to go. – Kat Jan 25 '18 at 19:00
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+50

Don't ask to be invited, but let them know you're available.

I always say, "That sounds fun. Let me know if you're looking for more people."

This makes it clear that you are interested, but doesn't put them on the spot or make the situation awkward.

15

These answers are good if you're really firmly against the idea of not doing anything to invite yourself, even in the most polite and understanding way possible. However, I think they all have the pitfall of not being up front enough to make your desire to go now clear.

If you're an introverted person, it's easy to make assumptions about imposing yourself on others, even when most people would expect that you would express your desire to go with them if you really wanted to go with them. Going off that assumption, I would recommend saying something like,

Do you guys mind if I tag along? If not, no worries! I'm not trying to crash any plans/I'm not trying to force myself into your plans since I realize I'm inviting myself!

Or

I was thinking about heading there myself tonight, do you mind if I tag along?

Some points on the second option:

  1. You have the right to go to this place without their approval--they don't own the place.
  2. This shows that not only are you interested in going, but you were going to do this independent of their decision (whether or not you actually would go without them is irrelevant--you can always say you "decided not to go" if they back out).
  3. It's straightforward, to the point, friendly, and you're still leaving the answer up to them. If they really didn't want you to go, they would give you a friendly excuse.

But overall: Don't overthink it! If your conscientious enough to consider it rude to invite yourself, you're probably a friendly person who they wouldn't mind hanging out with if you did invite yourself in a respectful manner.

  • Do you guys mind if I tag along? If not, no worries! like this one: if they're your friends, I hope they don't have problems saying Yes or No. – Mauricio Arias Olave Aug 1 '17 at 18:12
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    I think this depends on the culture. Both suggestions sounded very pushing to me... I can't imagine half of my friends saying "no" to the "do you mind if I tag along?" question, even with all the extra apologies and clarifications. But I know that in some cultures saying "no" is much easier (IIRC, Germany is an example). – Pedro A Aug 2 '17 at 2:16
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    I think it's very hard to go with the first choice without it seeming much more like you're pushing to be invited than a simple 'Do you guys mind if I tag along'? would. Far too much text explaining how okay it would be to say no :D It just makes you seem more insecure, which adds importance to you asking the question despite being that insecure about it in the first place. – Mark Aug 2 '17 at 7:54
  • @Mark I think this is a good point. But like a lot of questions on this site, it totally depends on the exact people you're with, how you gesticulate, show emotion on your face, what kind of person these people know you are, etc... So mileage may definitely vary, and of course it's context/person dependent! I tried to make my answer as applicable as possible considering these things. – spacetyper Aug 2 '17 at 15:31
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    @MauricioAriasOlave But according to the OP, they're not his friends. They're "acquaintances or people that I would like to get to know better". Putting myself in the position of those people, I can't think of any polite way to say "no". – Shawn V. Wilson Aug 4 '17 at 19:41
10

Just mention your interest in the "topic," that is, "bar, party, bowling, etc." without mentioning the event. Do this a casual, almost "throwaway" fashion. "you know, I love a good beer from time to time." Based on what you have said, they will take the hint and invite you.

Often, people will "not invite" others, because they don't realize that the others are interested, not because they want to exclude them. This appears to be one of those instances.

8

You could indicate interest by inviting them out somewhere when you do something similar to their activities i.e. bowling/going to the pub, I would normally do it through the person I'm closest to in the group, who could then spread the message. It can work both ways.

Then when they do something again, they may remember the time they had with you and invite you out, that doesn't come across as you "inviting yourself" but giving them a reason to invite you next time as you have common interests and they now know you better.

7

If you are there when the plan starts to happen, it's fine to assume the plan is including you:

Let's all go to X right now! (Or tomorrow, or when exams are over)

Great idea! (Ask more questions if necessary.)

If you were not there when the plan was made, but two people discuss it in front of you, it's fine to assume they wouldn't mind if you come, but best not to assume you can invite yourself. Showing enthusiasm is the way to go here.

That sounds like a great time!

If they want to invite you, they can easily say "join us" or "it sure will be, are you coming?" or the like. If they don't, they can just say something noncommittal like "sure will be" or "yes." You can respond as you would if someone was telling you their plans for their vacation - friendly interest and encouragement without assuming they will bring you along.

If you weren't there when the plan was made, and people who are going aren't discussing it in front of you, but you hear from another person "X and Y are going bowling tomorrow" then it's just slightly trickier, because you need to discuss it with X and Y, not the person who told you, but the subject hasn't naturally come up with X or Y yet. Nonetheless, you can take a similar approach.

I hear you're [activity] [timeframe]. That sounds like a great time!

Again they can either agree that yes, it sure will be, or they might ask if you can come too. Even if they don't, they know now how you feel about that activity, so if they do it again, perhaps they'll remember that and invite you on the next one.

Of course this works best when you're aware of the sorts of things to which invitations are quite exclusive: vacations, dates, weddings etc. That way someone doesn't end up saying something like "sorry, but it's really kind of a date thing - just the two of us - hope you don't mind" which would be super embarrassing.

5

The easiest way by far, that works for me everytime, is to sound enthusiastic about the plan itself and specifically the food or the places - without assuming you are actually going. Pretend you are acting like someone helping to organise a tour, and then listen carefully to whether they start including you in the plan or not.

What about [place_name]? That is a really nice place to go! They have very nice bubble tea!

Gauge reactions carefully to see if they are receptive to your ideas or not. If not, then be content in the knowledge that their plan may not involve you. Don't talk over them and remember to go quiet at some points to really see if you are intruding and they continue the conversation without you or not. That is a clue. If they carry on making plans and look you in the eye while doing so, it means they want to involve you. If they avoid eye contact while doing so it means, they do not have you in mind.

If you are still not sure, then start explicitly using 'You' words to indicate to them you think you are not going:

You know what else you guys might like is to go to [another place name].

At this point they will either thank you for your suggestion or start letting you know they actually want you to join them :)

2

I agree that asking someone out to something is a great way to get future invites!

Another way to invite yourself along that isn't super pushy is to express interest without demanding an invite. (e.g. saying, "Oh! That sounds really fun! I've been meaning to put together a group myself to go bowling one of these days!")

It implies that you'd like an invite (and opens the door to an invitation if the person would like you to come along), while still letting the person who mentioned the invite have the easy out of saying, "Yeah, definitely! Let me know when you plan something!" rather than inviting you if you aren't wanted for whatever reason.)

1

This is coming from a very shy and closed person:

Just be around, be a good company, make sure you fit in and you will be invited in activities. If you're annoying to the group, or just weird then inviting yourself in anyway/showing you're available won't help your cause.

My 2nd year of University I had lectures with some people I wanted to get to know better. I just sat around them, walked home with them, participated with jokes (being funny helped out) and was generally around. Soon enough they started inviting me to events (hanging out, playing games etc.). After that it was easy, and if I felt that I might not get invited to an event, I bugged the guy I considered the closes to make sure to invite me:

For example we together were four and would frequently play card game that required four. Sometimes there was an option to call another person to be the forth but I made sure to mention I'm available, asked about the time the event was taking place, generally just putting myself and the event in the same sentence. Soon enough I also started bugging the closes of them "Call me when to come, don't forget me" etc.

0

It's counterintuitive, and takes some skill to pull off, but you can always try:

Oh man, and you didn't invite me? I love that place!

(said with jokey enthusiasm, fake pout etc.)

If they're happy for you to come along, then it gives them the opportunity to invite you - act surprised, ask them if they're sure and then accept. Otherwise, you've conveyed that you're only joking and don't really care, and they should feel free to offer whatever excuse they have for why they didn't invite you.

You might want to practise this one in front of a mirror. If there's any hint of resentment in your voice then it'll backfire.

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