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Singing for Her Supper

My parents are planning a party and had already invited the guests when they were subsequently invited to a different party that they're dying to attend on the same night.

What are the rules when it comes to canceling one's own party for another? Is it equally as rude as trying to get out of an invitation because you've been invited to something better?

I think they want to pretend that they were already planning to go to the second party and made a mistake when scheduling their own.

No, it is not equally as rude. It is ruder. A defaulting guest has inconvenienced his hosts, which is bad enough.

Defaulting hosts have inconvenienced their entire guest list -- which might contain people who might also have had better subsequent offers that they are now too late to accept.

Miss Manners supposes that the false excuse they propose is better than admitting that they want to enjoy a more interesting evening than they were planning to offer.

And what are they planning to say when any of their own dismissed guests show up at the same party, knowing perfectly well when the invitations were issued?

Feeling incorrect? E-mail your etiquette questions to Miss Manners (who is distraught that she cannot reply personally) atMissManners@unitedmedia.comor mail to United Media, 200 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10016.

2007Judith Martin

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