DEAR MISS MANNERS: After watching my son's high school musical, my partner and I chatted with various parents. While waiting for him, I unexpectedly saw my friend Jenny, whom I hadn't seen in a while. She has had some difficult times, and I gave her a hug and told her I was glad to see her.
My partner, Lauren, who is better at small talk than I am, spoke to Jenny and they started talking together. I wasn't sure how to participate in the conversation, so I left and chatted with another friend.
When that conversation ended, I went over to see Jenny and Lauren still talking. I stood near Lauren for maybe 30 seconds. I didn't participate in the conversation and remained listening quietly. Jenny then said to Lauren, with me there, "Let's go out and have coffee and talk sometime."
I was not included in the offer. I felt dissed, but I didn't say anything because I didn't want to sound petty. I was hurt, though. I wondered if because Jenny is straight, and straight women usually hang out with the female partners of their friends, that it was just a straight woman just not thinking about a female partner. Maybe I am making an excuse.
However, what about Lauren? I was mad that she didn't acknowledge me and bring me into that offer to go out. Such as, "We haven't seen you in a while, Jenny, and we'd love to get together for coffee." I was more annoyed with Lauren. What's your viewpoint on this, and was it best to just say nothing? How should I have handled it?
GENTLE READER: Just as you did. Although Miss Manners concurs that it was rude to not acknowledge your presence -- and Jenny could have waited to extend the invitation to Lauren out of earshot -- the fact that the two wanted to have coffee on their own was not an etiquette transgression. Couples are allowed to separate and have their own friends -- and inviting a couple out together is not a requirement.
Further (in the interest of your own domestic peace), Lauren was not the one issuing the invitation, so the onus wasn't on her to include you. Since it bothered you, however, you could have said cheerfully, "Perhaps while you two are having coffee, your husband and I could get to know one another" -- as long as it was done with (virtually) no implication of threat.