DEAR MISS MANNERS: In our neighborhood, there is a core group of about 25 residents who are very close, often taking trips together. We do not belong to that group, though we are friendly with them.
We host an annual event at our home, and when the invitations went out for this year's gathering, three members of the group responded that they would be out of town; the others did not respond at all. Lo and behold, it turns out the entire group would be on a weekend trip together.
Had any one of them let us know about the conflict, we'd have gladly changed the date. We are stung -- not because we want to join the "cool kids" on their outings, but because we feel it was rude that no one clued us in that we had selected a bad date for so many.
Are we wrong to feel that way? We certainly shall not host again.
GENTLE READER: How you feel about the situation is not for etiquette to judge, but Miss Manners sees why your neighbors would be squeamish telling you about a party to which you were not, well, a party.
The normal ban on such discussions does not, technically, apply: Any one of them was free to say they were sorry to miss your event but they, and a number of neighborhood friends, would be away that weekend.
But that does not put them under an obligation to do so. The guilty parties are the ones who never responded at all.