"So I hear you're having a party? Great, I'll be right over!"

Seasonal socializing in my corner of the suburbs has revealed a new species of pest.

The Me-vite.

This person learns you’re having a party through a mutual friend who actually did get invited. Instead of saying, “Well, have fun!” or better yet, planning their own party, the Me-vite connives her way onto your guest list.

This has happened to me several times now. What to do?

I love the site Evite. It’s quick, easy and provides a constantly updated headcount. Unfortunately, it also allows your friends to inadvertently publicize your plans; apparently you can post an Evite to your Facebook page. But low-tech word-of-mouth works, too. I’ve been approached at various gatherings, including Sunday School (!) by people trying to muscle in on my party action after learning of my plans one way or another.

In recent days I’ve been asked to expand my upcoming guest list from a few different varieties of Me-vites. One asked if it was ok to bring her sister, who’s going to be in town for the holidays. Answer: Of course. Another texted to ask, somewhat plaintively, if they could come since their kid’s at college now and the house feels so empty. How do you refuse? Sure, come on.

Then I was in the checkout line when a casual friend rolled up and demanded, in a voice that suggests she has a future in the hog-calling business, “SO YOU’RE HAVING A PARTY? WHAT TIME SHOULD I BE THERE?”

I. Mean. Really.

I reacted like I’d been zapped with a cattle prod. Dazed by the Me-vite’s boldness, I just nodded and said, “Um, a bottle of wine.” Her phone rang, and I thought I was saved. No. Instead I heard her say, “Oh hi, I’m just standing here with Kate, and we’re talking about her party. Oh.. wait, you’re going aren’t you?” Then she turned to me and asked, “So-and-so is invited too, right?” I stood there like a mounted deer head, mutely staring at nothing.

My little gathering has spiraled into Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner? At this point I have no idea who might show up. For all I know the Me-vites will outnumber the real guests.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you figured out a way to politely yet firmly set boundaries with pushy people? It’s not unreasonable to assume you control who comes to your house for a party isn’t it?