In Spain the most common form of conversational grouping is known as a 'tertulia', variously translatable as a salon or soirée.
In its simplest form the 'tertulianos' meet regularly at a bar or restaurant, and talk for hours about anything under the sun, although the original tertulias were culturally-orientated. These days they can relate to football, wine, gastronomy, or politics, although the participants may not even realise they are taking part in a classic tertulia.
Gastronomic groupings function best when there is no hesitation about trying new dishes and different wines. The worst are when some old codger always orders fried calamares, ensaladilla and cheap Rioja.
With all these factors in place, it is painfully obvious that admission to a group must be handled sensitively and diplomatically, above all because no-one has the right to demand admission. So the news item published last week in the UK press must only evoke astonishment:
'Woman wins £74,000 payout after not being invited to work drinks'.
A casino worker has been awarded more than £74,000 in compensation as she felt shunned by colleagues after being left out of a work drinks evening.
The tribunal judges ruled that deliberately leaving a colleague out of work drinks amounted to victimisation and is a detriment at work, since the aggrieved party lose[s] the opportunity to bond with colleagues'.
So apparently, in this new age of PC, we have to invite people to join us even if they have nothing in common nor are desirable as participants. The ramifications of this lunatic ruling simply beggars belief.