Social gatherings need to be fun and at times they are manipulated to further one’s career and avoid conflict. I have very often seen people call “XYZ” person for a function due to the following reasons:
1) They called you for their function.
2) They are decision makers in your career / networking opportunity.
3) They are a close relative or acquaintance (although you seldom keep in touch)
4) They live in your vicinity (neighbors, acquaintance’s etc.)
5) They work with you / worked with you / former boss / co-worker.
If you notice none of the 5 reasons ever stated that you were close to them and you wanted them to be part of your social gathering.
It’s more of I don’t want to but I have to or It will look bad on my part if I didn’t call them.
Honestly, I rather attend a function ONLY if the person truly wanted me to be there and not because they felt compelled to invite me for reasons given above.
And then there are people who want to be invited for every event and will feel insulted and hurt if they are not. They force people who have a social gathering to send out the pity invite.
Now I’m pretty sure that most people will read this and agree, but will still call people from the list above, cause they do not want to ruffle feather / rock the boat.
I on the other hand operate very differently; I associate myself with people I want to be around and vice versa. I have very few close friends and relatives that I like to keep in touch with and if I do have a social gathering I will call only those people and not the rest.
Now one can say, what if the people who you think are your close friends and relatives don’t feel the same way about you. The answer to that is simple; if one doesn’t feel the same way, then don’t attend.
I don’t and won’t feel bad.
It is important to have the right and the freedom to call someone who you feel strongly about and not be compelled to please others or fear the wrath of society, family and "friends' (aka - acquaintances)
The key in making a good guest list is to ask yourself the following questions:
1) Does this person make me good about myself.
2) Is this person someone I can rely on in time of trouble.
3) Does this person accept me for the way I am.
4) Do I feel comfortable around this person.
Now if the answers to these questions are yes then you probably have a good list. You may not have had the opportunity to test or be certain about point 2, but you would have a fair idea.
Now if you are still feeling uneasy about not inviting the rest who are close acquaintances, relatives, employers, neighbors etc. Example : They are people who you get along with, respect and at times have fun, but In short they are people who are nice to have around, but are not necessarily the people who have a deep emotional impact in your life. Then don't invite them for the main event, but have a small party (inexpensive) to celebrate your success, marriage, anniversary etc
At work you can distribute sweets, and for the relatives and neighbors a small party would suffice. If they choose not to come, due to humiliation of not being invited for the main event, then don't bother; you've done your part.