The Perils of the Last-Minute Invitation

Last Friday I was talking to a friend about her plans for the weekend. She mentioned, with clear irritation, that she'd been invited to a friend's birthday party that was happening the very next day. I asked her why she sounded so annoyed, and she said there's nothing ruder than being invited to a party the day before it’s supposed to occur. Obviously, she reasoned, she wasn't really wanted at the party to begin with, or she would have been invited long before. "It's so clearly a B-List situation," she said. "Or even C-List."

Now, here’s my reasoning on last-minute invitations: Sure, you could look at it as a snub, and play out some elaborate paranoid fantasy in your mind in which your friend sat down months ago, drawing up a long list of invitees, and consciously decided NOT to invite you. Then—your paranoid fantasy continues—when the RSVPs trickled in, along with some amount of guilt (and/or an extra plate of non-refundable chicken paillard as charged by the caterer), she broke down and invited you. I’m willing to concede that that very scenario may have happened at some point in the history of party planning. But I say, if you go through life looking for opportunities to feel snubbed, you will always be able to find 'em. More importantly, by being someone who's easily insulted and prone to feeling left-out, you become the very person people don't want to have at their parties.

 Instead, since you don't know exactly what went on in the mind of the party-thrower, why not assume the best-case scenario? Maybe your friend hadn't even decided to have a party until the very last minute, or, she originally planned to do something very small, and only recently, realized she'd really miss having you there. In that version, not only are you not snubbed, you're actually especially valued and wanted. And, without knowing otherwise, isn't that a better way to walk into a party?  

 Do you think it's rude to invite someone last minute to an event?