Social Etiquette and Good Manners/Redefining invitations


Hi there

To what extent is it considered rude to redefine an invitation?

I had invited a couple to go on a bushwalk and then stay for dinner. Now I have been sent an email asking if it is OK if they just come for dinner because one of them "has some work to do". This is not the first time that arrangements have been "re-arranged" or "re-timed" because of their other priorities.

Because I am on my own, I feel like my time is not important and that I can "just fit in". I don't like being treated like this. I'm beginning to think that I would be better off discontinuing the relationship.

Given my feelings, would it be rude to cancel the invitation? I expect it would, but I'd appreciate any advice you might have on the practice of redefining an invitation when accepting it, and how one might respond. I might say it is certainly not how I've been brought up.

Thank you for your time.


Dear Liz,
Forgive me for not answering you sooner, but I have been without Internet for a couple of days. In my view, I think you are making this into a much bigger issue than necessary. I am not sure what a bush walk is, but if it is the main thrust of your getting together, then I am on your side and would simply reschedule for a later date. I don't know why having them for dinner and no walk is irritating, but if it is perhaps their friendship isn't important to you. I think flexibility is important to leading a happy fulfilling life. Perhaps their intention was to treat you with disrespect. Kind regards, Jay

Dear Liz,
I have been going over my answers (all 1000+ of them) and indexing them and as I reread the answer to your question from last spring, I was startled to see the last sentence was totally wrong. It should have said, "perhaps their intention was NOT to treat you with disrespect". I do hope the problem was amicably resolved and apologize if I added to the confusion, rather than aided you.
Kindest regards,

Social Etiquette and Good Manners

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Jay Remer


I am happy to answer any questions about social or corporate etiquette as well as questions regarding international protocol. It is important to practice civility. It is contagious.


I am certified by the Protocol School of Washington as a consultant for corporate etiquette and international protocol. I have been entertaining and giving advise on entertaining for over 40 years.

Weekly column in Telegraph Journal

Graduate of Protocol School of Washington

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