Q: When I invited a friend to a cocktail party I was throwing, she made a fuss and said she wouldn’t come without her children. Although I really didn’t want them there, I caved. How can I prevent this from happening in the future?
A: In the case of this specific friend, tell her before your next adults-only gathering that you enjoy her kids but hope she can hire a sitter. If she declines, so be it. Indeed, it’s generally better to let all guests know your preference from the start. A written invitation makes it clear who’s being asked, but if you’re inviting people verbally, you’ll have to mention that it’s an adults-only evening. And don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s perfectly OK to throw kid-free parties. Still worrying about your friend’s feelings? Perhaps you can arrange a get-together with her-and her children.