As I described the event I had emceed the night before, my family member said, "That sounds like something I would have enjoyed." I immediately thought, "Well then, why didn't you come? I invited you."
I paused before speaking my thoughts. Had I actually invited her? Or had I just mentioned briefly that I had this event coming up, hoping she would ask more questions and buy a ticket?
I'm pretty sure it was the latter.
There are so many women I could have invited to that program. Instead of assuming they were too busy or didn't want to spend the money or weren't interested, I could have asked and just not gotten too attached to the outcome of the invitation. Instead I figured, "Well, I posted about it on social media or in my blog; that's enough." Wrong.
Sometimes I hesitate to invite people because I'm so worried they won't have a good time. But that's not really my responsibility. I invited one friend to Saturday night's event. There was no expectation that I would pay for her ticket or entertain her. (Although I was one of the emcees, so hopefully she was mildly entertained by a few of my jokes.) She was fine on her own. She enjoyed herself. She just needed someone to let her know about the event and to give her a gentle nudge to attend.
Oh, I can give a nudge. But sometimes those nudges don't pay off. Part of why I don't extend more invitations these days is that I used to get a lot of rejections (or what I felt were rejections). But if I can extend an invitation without the feeling that if someone declines an invite they're declining me, the rewards will likely outweigh the risks. I'm learning to question my own motives: Am I inviting them to suit my purposes/sell more tickets/make me feel good? Or am I inviting them because I think they might really enjoy themselves? Sometimes the first motive is okay, especially if I'm transparent ("It would mean a lot to me if you attend"), but if the answer to the second question is yes, I really should be inviting them.
My husband and I sometimes feel hurt we don't get invited to more. And then I think, "Wait. When was the last time we invited them to something?" Hmm. It's been a while.
Want someone to show up? Want to receive more invitations yourself?
Extend an invitation.