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When I arrived at work this morning, a colleague of mine had placed an invite to his child's graduation party on my desk.

To be 100% clear, we are work colleagues only, I have not so much as had a personal conversation over a cup of coffee with this person. I do not know him or his family personally in any way.

My first reaction is that this feels like a money grab. I don't feel comfortable doing this myself ( inviting co-workers to personal events ), let alone going. In the grand scheme of things, I just won't go --- but I was hoping that if a reality check on my part is in order that this group might give it to me.

I totally get it if you are co-workers and friends outside of work for such an invitation to be extended. This is not the case in my situation.

So, my question is, should I be ( or feel as though ) I am obligated to go to this colleagues son's graduation party? Is it appropriate or professional for my colleague to invite co-workers from the office to such an event?

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    Should your colleague have invited you? Maybe, maybe not. Doesn't really matter. Just decline the invitation. – Ant P Apr 28 '17 at 11:39
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    Have you asked any of your other coworkers if they got invites too? My guess is that your colleague blindly handed them out to everyone, in which case I wouldn't feel guilty about just not showing up without saying anything. – David K Apr 28 '17 at 11:54
  • @DavidK That is exactly what happened. The invitations were handed out to everyone. – Mister Positive Apr 28 '17 at 11:55
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    Did everyone in the office got such an invite? – Radu Murzea Apr 28 '17 at 15:01
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    Maybe he felt that inviting only a selection of colleagues would be awkward, and he secretly hopes that the not-so-closes ones decline the invitation ! – Kerkyra Apr 28 '17 at 15:16
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You don't know him. You have professional obligations towards him, which is already enough, no need for personal obligations if you don't know him from outside work.

Just decline the invitation like a professional.

I'm sorry I can't attend your son/daughter's graduation party but thanks for the invitation.

If he tries to know why, try to politely explain that you feel this is a personal event which should be attended by the person of his personal life in your opinion.

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So, my question is, should I be ( or feel as though ) I am obligated to go to this colleagues son's graduation party?

No. You're not obligated at all.

Is it appropriate or professional for my colleague to invite co-workers from the office to such an event?

It's not inappropriate — people who work together often become close enough that they invite each other to dinners, parties, etc.

I totally understand why it seems odd to you that you were invited. But consider the situation from your colleague's point of view. Perhaps he/she is friendly with a number of other people in the department, but felt awkward about inviting many people and leaving some out. He/she may have invited you so that you wouldn't come to work one morning and find out that practically everybody was invited except for you. You might understand completely, but some people would feel very hurt by that. So, you may have been invited so that you felt included. If so, that was a kind gesture on your colleague's part.

I don't think that there's any reason for you to attend the party, but you should probably make a point of thanking the colleague for the invitation. While you're at it, take a few minutes to get to know them a little bit. Maybe share a cup of coffee.

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    This is the best answer according to me. You don`t have to go but you can use this opportunity to know the colleague little bit more at personal level. – PagMax Apr 29 '17 at 8:25
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Just decline by saying that you have some personal business to attend to. And don't you dare buy greeting cards, gift cards, or gifts for some kid you've probably never met.

The "personal business" approach also works for bosses who ask you why you sometimes need to take off, with sick time or vacation time that you've earned.

As for your co-worker, he may wish to get to know you more personally - but you can be the judge of that. If this is the case, the graduation is most certainly not a good way -- poor judgment. I'm not sure how relevant this last part is, but it's something to keep in mind.

  • " And don't you dare buy greeting cards, gift cards, or gifts for some kid you've probably never met." I have not met any of my colleagues family. +1 – Mister Positive Apr 28 '17 at 15:13
  • I don't understand the need to down vote this answer....SMH – Mister Positive Apr 28 '17 at 15:55

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