Polyamory Etiquette: Informal Invitations

Last week we looked as best practices for addressing formal invitations to poly folk. This week we’re going to take a look at informal invitations.

There are lots of types of informal invites. Everything from calling someone up “Hey, you want to come over?” to sending an email to inviting someone to an event on Facebook. The big challenge of informal invitations is they tend to be vague. “Would you guys like to join us for dinner tonight?” is a very friendly invite, but it isn’t exactly specific.

For informal invites, we’re going to break this down into direct and indirect invitations.

Direct Invitations

A direct invitation is anytime you are saying to someone directly “I want you to join us.” This includes phone calls, emails, letters, and in-person invites. The most important thing to do with a direct invite is to make it clear who you are inviting.

Instead of “you guys” you can use:

  • “you and your household”
  • “you and your partners”
  • “you and [SO] and your kids”
  • “you”
  • “you three”

Which one you use will depend on who you are inviting. “You and your partners” is the most open-ended–you may not know all your friend’s partners or even how many partners they have. “You and your household” is very clearly “everyone who lives with you”. “You and [so]” is the best way if you want to define exactly who is invited. You can invite just the person you are speaking with and one other person, or “You and [so] and [so] and [so]” etc. But you are naming the specific people you want to come.

I suggest avoiding “family.” At first is sounds specific, but different people have different ideas of family. Are you inviting the nuclear family that lives together? Everyone that they consider part of their family whether they live together or not? Some other configuration? Avoid this.

Indirect Invitations

Indirect invitations are things like inviting someone to a Facebook event or saying to a group of people “Please join me/us for…” You can’t be very specific here because you aren’t talking to just one person.

In this case, you can add invitation details to the event description. Anything from “and bring all your friends!” to “children welcome” to “this is a private event–please don’t bring anyone with you unless they were specifically invited.” All of the phrasing from direct invitations can work here too: “you and your household are invited.”

This post is part of the Polyamory Etiquette blog series.

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