I've been in situations where my friends are invited to an event and they'll get an invitation electronically, or physically. Sometimes I won't get one even though my friends have gotten one, and I know the host very well. It seems like I should have an invitation, and there may have been a mistake. Further, should I show up at the event, the host may not want me there, and it would ruin the scene.

Obviously, asking the host directly puts them on the spot, and makes them uncomfortable should there be no mistake, and they don't want me there.

Given that I am by myself (I can't have the aid of a friend), how do I ask if I have an invitation or not to an event without putting the host on the spot?


It's possible it was an oversight, or the invitation was lost. But it's best to at least acknowledge the possibility that you are actually not invited there.

So it looks like there are three possibilities:

  • It was an honest mistake on the part of the person making up the invitations. But most people charged to do this are very careful about it, and the invitation list is usually checked by others as well. But it's possible that someone just fell through the cracks.
  • The invitation was lost in transit. It happens, but it's uncommon.
  • You didn't get the invitation because you were not invited. As saddening as this may be, and as uncommon as it may appear, this too is at least possible (though perhaps improbable).

OK, so if you did not receive an invitation, please do not just show up to the event. Only consider going if you get some form of invitation: in writing by the host (better late than never), an after-the-fact last minute invitation over the phone, or as the partner to someone who was invited.

So how do you gently remind someone that maybe you were not put on the invitation list by accident?

  • If it's a celebration (a birthday, graduation, marriage), write a congratulatory note to happy person. Make no mention of not getting an invitation. Don't ask a question or write anything that would/should get a reply (that could also be construed as putting them on the spot). Aside from the actual congratulatory message, it will serve as a reminder to the person. Hopefully, it will get them to ask themselves why they are being congratulated when they are coming to the event. It may well lead to a correction. But you should be prepared to accept that it does not change anything.
  • When talking to a mutual friend who is invited, work into the conversation that you will be doing something at the same time as the celebration. It may be difficult, but try not to be obvious about it. The hope is to get a question like "Aren't you going to so-and-so's party?" Then you can say that you did not get an invitation. This should cue your friend to inquire on their own about this situation.

Best of luck in getting a clarification on whether you should have been invited.

  • 5
    Perhaps I'm just thick, but if I received a note congratulating me on something, I would assume it was in response to one of the invitations I sent out. I wouldn't even consider that a congratulation note meant anything other than that the person is already aware of the event and already knows they are invited. – Jamin Grey Sep 16 '17 at 18:50

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