DEAR HARRIETTE: I am having a birthday party soon and have been trying to figure out whom to invite. I have a predominant friend group, and we all hang out with one another quite a bit. I also have one very close friend who has a different group of friends that I am not a part of, just as she is not a part of my main friend group. I think it would be polite to invite her to the party, but I'm worried that she will feel left out since she is not friends with the rest of the people I want to invite. Should I invite her? -- Guest List, Racine, Michigan
DEAR GUEST LIST: The kindest thing you can do is contact your friend who is not part of your predominant friend group and let her know about your party, tell her that you want to invite her and offer her the opportunity to bring a friend so that she will be sure to feel comfortable even though she won't know many of the people there.
This overture will make it clear to her that you want her to celebrate with you and that you are thinking about her comfort level. Some people do not have a problem milling about in a group where they do not know the others. If this is true for her, she may choose to come alone, but offering her the option is very thoughtful.