Is it okay to ask who will be at an event?

Quite often I get questions about etiquette from friends and family and this summer has been no different. With all the cookouts happening this time of the year, I’ve gotten many questions that I thought were worth sharing in case they might help others out.  Over the next week or so, I’ll be sharing some of these etiquette conundrums with y’all.

First up, I was recently asked by a friend who was attending one of my events if it was rude to ask who else would be coming to an event. To set the scenario up, this friend had already rsvp’ed that she and her family were attending the event when she asked me the question.

Here is my answer:  Yes it is rude and no it isn’t.  It really depends on when you ask the question. If you ask before the event, yes it is wrong.  I’m a hard core introvert and when I go somewhere, I LOVE to know who will be there so I can plan my escape socializing game plan if necessary so I understand the desire to know who will be at an event.  However, this isn’t always possible.  Asking before the event  indicates that you might be basing your decision to attend solely on who else is there or not there.  This can be hurtful to the host as well as those who might be attending a party you decide to decline the invite for.  Also, asking before the event indicates that you are trying to decide if the event is worthy of your presence and let’s be honest, that is self-centered and inconsiderate of the host who cared enough to invite you and their other invited guests.

I get it, you want to know who you can hang out with. If you can find out quietly by doing some investigating on your own, then by all means, go for it!  Maybe the host set up a Facebook event or sent online invites and you can see who else was invited.  However, if you can’t be discreet about it, decide on other merits and remember that we often get out of an event what we put into it.  If you want a good time, attend and be a part of the good time.

On the other hand, it is not rude to ask who will be at an event if you’ve already accepted the invitation.  There could be many reasons why you might ask who will be at an event; you might want to carpool with one of the other guests or you want to avoid talking about the event to someone who might not have been invited which could also be insensitive and cause a stir.  Nothing is worse than talking to someone about a party they were intentionally left out of (which is totally at the discretion of the host, by the way) only to realize they’re not on the guest list.

So go forth and enjoy all the great bbq summer has to offer with your friends and build great memories.  Just remember to always be kind and considerate while doing it.




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