An invitation is not an invitation unless the person invited is able to say no.
And, in addition, in the face of the no, everyone remains whole.
You remain whole.
They remain whole.
The relationship between you remains whole.
Without those conditions being met, it’s not an invitation at all. It’s a demand. A condition. A bribe. A form of coercion dressed up as a gift. And, like many forms of looking-good we can get into, it’s a way of being in control while pretending, perhaps to ourselves more than to anyone else, that it’s nothing of the sort.
[With thanks to Karen, who told me about this today]