My husband’s cousin “L” got engaged to his girlfriend “M” last Fall and Husband and I were very excited for them! Although we’re all around the same age (late 20’s/ early 30’s) and live in the same area, we aren’t super close to L and M and only see them at family functions. We do all get along though. I’ve known L for 5 years and M for 2.

I recently received invitations to both a bachelorette party and bridal shower for M and both events are taking place later this month. The problem is that Husband and I haven’t been invited to the actual wedding. My first thought was that perhaps it would be a destination wedding, since M is from a different part of the country, or that the bachelorette and bridal showers are very early and the wedding won’t be for many months.

Well. We found out that the wedding is at the end of this summer and is in our home city. The venue they chose is small so the guest list can’t be more than 50 people or so. Husband has a very large extended family, so it makes sense to me that if they were trying to cut down on the guest list some of the cousins wouldn’t make the cut, however Husband is very hurt that we weren’t invited (but that’s something the two of them need to sort out by themselves).

My question is whether it’s rude for M to invite someone to the bachelorette/ bridal shower but not the wedding, even if it’s a small ceremony/ reception. On one hand, I feel like maybe they want to celebrate with as many people as possible but on the other hand it seems strange to attend these events meant to celebrate and prepare for a wedding that I’m not invited to. I don’t have plans on either of the days so I could attend both events but I’m not sure that I want to. Which brings me to my other question: is it gauche for me to decline these events without actually having conflicting plans and to also not send a gift along with my regrets? I don’t really want to attend any events where my presence is an afterthought (like the idea of a “B-list” guest) but I also don’t want to burn any bridges with my husband’s family. Any advice would be appreciated! 0713-16

It is a major faux pas to invite people to a wedding shower who are not invited to the actual wedding. It screams, “Your presents are far more important than your presence at my wedding,” or worse, “You are a second class guest who is good for a wedding gift or help pay for my drinks at the bachelor/rette party but whom I have no desire to make sure is actually invited to my wedding.”     I don’t want to hear any of that garbage about “sharing the joy” with as many people as possible.   If the bride and groom had prioritized relationships as being the most important, they would have found a venue that fit the required number of people they want to include in their “joy”.   I’ve seen far too many weddings where the couple wants a specific church or reception location or they want an expensive dinner which then limits the number of people that can be invited.   Once that choice has been made, a person must deceive themselves into thinking friends and family who were not invited are going to be thrilled to death to be invited to any wedding related activity, particularly ones which involve the receipt of money or gifts.   Find something else to do those days…..get something planned and decline the invitations citing a conflict in your schedule.


I am devastated and would appreciate hearing if others think I am right or wrong.

Last Christmas our adult son and I chipped in on an expensive gift for my husband. After opening it, he said it was nice but would we mind him returning it and putting the money towards a different more expensive version of what we had gotten him. We both said we would mind as we had put a lot of time and effort into picking out a nice gift for him and that he does that all the time where he never seems happy with what he has been given. He apologized, said he would keep the gift and has used it all year long and seemed pleased with it.

Fast forward to this year. My husband and I were out Christmas shopping today, and the discussion of exchanging gifts came up. He said he saw nothing wrong with it; in fact he could not understand why our son and I objected last year; that while the gift we got him was ok, he had really wanted a better version that cost twice as much and instead he had to keep the one we got him.

Again I was very upset. I said I disagreed; that it was one thing to exchange something from someone who would not know that you did, but not when your immediate family gave it to you. I asked him how he would have felt if I had said his engagement ring to me was nice, but I wanted to return it and put the money towards a ring with a bigger stone. He said that was different as it was a sentimental gift. I said I might as well just hand him the cash I was going to spend on his gift and let him do his own shopping, and was told, “No, I want to open a gift from you.”

I am so hurt by what he said about last year that I can hardly even look at him right now. He has sucked the joy of gift giving right out of me. I need some advice. 1219-15

With difficult-to-please gift recipients, particularly family members, I think the best alternative is to give a small token gift and redirect the joy of gift giving to more appreciative people.  The truth is,  husband sucks the joy out of giving gifts to him because he is perennially ungrateful for all that he has been given.   He disregards the time people expended to earn the money that affords the purchase of gifts and the time used to choose and wrap said gift because the gift was below his standards.   But there are many others who will be grateful.   Dear OP, find a local charity that desperately needs assistance this holiday season and give generously of your time.  You’ll get your joy back, I guarantee it.


As a new member of the management team this year, I was put in charge of organizing the annual holiday party. I was working with a great team of volunteers to fund raise throughout the year (we don’t get any budget from our organization for these types of events) and put the whole thing together. There were a few details that my team really wanted to do according to our department’s “traditions”, and one of them was the white elephant gift exchange (sometimes known as dirty santa). For those unfamiliar, everyone brings a wrapped gift. Each person then gets a number 1-whatever (in our case, 50) and unwraps a gift or steals one previously unwrapped from another player. There are more rules, but that’s the gist.

Now, our holiday party white elephant gift exchanges can get a little bit racy, and between that and the fact that we serve alcohol at our party, we do ask that no one bring children. Not all of the gifts are all in good taste, but usually they aren’t too offensive and are just sophomoric. Other gifts are often cool little novelties or bottles of alcohol or even children’s toys.

This year, however, a good friend of mine was the last person in the rotation. When she went to get the last item on the table and unwrap it, she had in her hand a small ball that looked like a Christmas ornament. But then she brought it to the podium and insisted that I read what was written on the wrapper. I started to, but stopped abruptly when I realized it was an item from a sex shop, meant for a man use to “play solitary scrabble”, if you know what I mean. I handed it back to her and we finished the game up. We can’t verify who brought it, but we suspect a man who is retiring in the next few weeks. I want to add here that while our field is traditionally male, almost 50% of the department made up of women. Whether this person just assumed a guy would end up with it or didn’t care, I cannot divine.

While I know the item certainly offended my friend (she’s still talking about it a week later), I also know that the incident probably won’t do anything to dissuade the committee from doing the white elephant game again next year. As for me, I think I’ve earned a year off holiday parties. 1217-15



Holiday Food Restrictions Guests Have

by admin on December 1, 2016

Two related stories today… Story One:

My best friend (BF) related this conversation she had with her mother about meal arrangements for their upcoming trip home for Christmas. I have opted to laugh at the absurdity of it all because I can’t think of another response.

BF has Lupus which has led to some pretty sever dietary restrictions. She is always polite about this when visiting others homes for meals, if they ask she lets them know options that she can enjoy, but if there isn’t anything, she has her own snacks on hand but is never obnoxious or abrasive about any shortcoming in the food department. BF has a younger brother who is serving in the Navy and has been stationed overseas for years, he is going to be home for Christmas so this seemed to be the perfect opportunity to visit Mom and Dad and catch up with brother. BF called her mother to discuss the trip and in the course of the phone call asked what the plan was for meals during the holidays. As I am sure you are aware there is a high level of importance placed on having certain foods during holiday celebrations. Mom outlined what she was planning on serving for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. BF said, “Mom, with my Lupus I can’t eat most of those dishes. Would it be okay if I brought some things I can eat and prepared some dishes at your house?” (BF and Mom live multiple states apart so preparing food at home and bringing it along isn’t really an option) Mom’s response was, “Oh, honey, you and some of my friends have so many different restrictions I can’t keep them straight, but everything will be made from scratch so you should be fine”. BF calmly explained that no that wouldn’t work because even from scratch there are ingredients she can’t have and asked again if she could please just prepare some alternative food options in Mom’s kitchen. “Well, honey, I really want to keep the kitchen tidy during the holidays. Maybe you could come the week before Christmas?” At this point BF just said “Okay, Mom, thanks, we will think about it.”

BF is laughing about this, as am I, but I was also shocked at the callousness of her mother’s dismissal of her request. I know it is her mother’s house and therefore she has the right to call the shots, but to place her need to control her kitchen and the holidays above her daughter’s ability to fully participate in the holidays feels extremely selfish and callous to me. I personally don’t have any dietary restrictions, but I have numerous friends and family who do. As such I always ask when I am inviting people to my home if there is anything to be aware of for meal preparation.

I would just like to know if there is any other response my friend might have given to her mother. As it is I felt she handled the situation gracefully.   1116-16

And Story Two:

I have an extended family member (who is single) who comes to my house for a lot of holidays with my own family, in fact, pretty much expects to be asked over. We don’t live in the same town. I always enjoy this person’s company (I’ll call said person Dale), but I have a problem that I hope E-hellions can help me with.

Dale is always on a special diet, and it will change fairly often. It will be all organic with homemade bread, any veggies and beans featured prominently, then in two years, it will be Paleo, then three years later, it will be no sugar, no beef or fish, no dairy, no grains of any kind, then another year later it’s fish and dairy are allowed but no pork or bread, no high GI veggies….. you get the picture.

So Dale is coming over to spend a few days, including the holiday. I really don’t know how to cook for Dale, although certainly, I’ll ask what Dale can eat. Which is worse, though – to just try to keep a few dishes “Dale-approved” and have Dale purchase the rest needed for the stay, or Dale asking me to cook for yet another restrictive diet that often eliminates nearly everything on my holiday table? I don’t want to be rude about this, but I don’t feel like jumping through hoops, either.

Let me add that in no case has Dale been advised by a doctor to try these diets. This is strictly Dale deciding to eat this way, because of the newest diets on the internet or in books. 1116-16

I believe very much in accommodating people’s dietary restrictions that have a basis in a medical need such as being gluten free.  So, the BF in Story One has a valid medical need to have her dietary needs accommodated by her mother allowing her to use the kitchen to prepare food she can eat.

However, dietary preferences are a whole different plate of food, imo.   Some diets are extremely restrictive, very time consuming to do properly, have specific preparation, not to mention very expensive (like a Keto diet), and while I appreciate the devotion some people have to maintaining that dietary lifestyle, I have no interest in joining in the fun.   I expect guests with that level of diet to provide their own food and meals.   So, Dale needs to suck it up and not expect his hosts to feed him according to his diet du jour.


I’m in a quandary. I’m in my mid 20’s an a college student. The night before last I attended an event for a favorite author. There were lots of young teens there but I managed to find a few people around my age. Two of these people I met very late at night. The event was ill-organized and did not go as long as promised. The event ended at eight, and around ten I met these people. In the dark, at night, we were really bonding. Especially me and the one person who I’d describe as a character. Very different than your average sense of style, loud personality. We bonded over the author,  the miss-organizing of the event,  and the fact that they are from a country I would one day like to study in.  We took pictures together and they also took a lot of video. I normally wouldn’t be okay with that but they told me it was like a diary for them,   although they do have a channel on a popular video sharing site.

Long story short: In the light of the day and after more research into them I started to feel a little uncomfortable. They texted me on my way home, and I tried to nicely end it saying it was nice meeting them. They wanted to quote me everything their friend I met at the event said about me after. (Luckily nice stuff). Yesterday, the day after the event they texted me promising to get me the pictures we took together and spinning a long story about why they hadn’t. More than five texts. I replied saying it was “no problem.”  They then continued texting me. I tried to end it to no avail then told them, “I’m in class now.” …my phone called them when I set it down.  And they texted me again. I had to explain it was an accident. We also exchanged twitters which was a mistake.   I use this twitter for privately discussing things I enjoy, like the author we saw. They tweeted a picture of us and tagged me. I direct messaged then on twitter and said “Hey. That’s a very cute picture of us. I’m not ready for my image to be out on social media though. I don’t mean to offend you or anything but I’m not comfortable with it”, then I decided I’d lay low for a bit and not use social media or engage with them.
This morning they message me with, “My aunt sister passed away.”

I have no idea what to say, or whether an aunt or sister passed away,  but I know this is too much for a person you just met. I don’t want to block them as they have video of me talking candidly. I’m worried that if I do, with the way they are acting they might do something.

How do I politely get myself out of this? I don’t want to enter the depths of etiquette hell. 1116-16

My best advice is to simply cease communicating with these two people.   When trying to extricate oneself from potentially ugly relationships, the less said, the better.   The reason behind this is that you never, ever want to provide further ammunition to those you seek to disassociate from.   I’d lay low on Twitter, too, for several weeks so that it appears you are simply too busy for anyone, let alone two new “friends”.

If they share the video on their channel, you have grounds for invasion of privacy.   One would think the biggest legal hurdle Ehell has is copyright infringement. Nope, it’s privacy protection of people who submit stories and the characters being written about in those stories.  It’s easier for someone to seek legal redress for invasion of privacy than it is for copyright infringement so I sometimes use substantial editing to hide identities of people.   The vast majority of web publishers have no idea what their legal obligations are.


The Inconvenienced Doctor (Who Would Want To Be Friends With A Guy Like Him?)

November 29, 2016

This happened a few weeks ago, but I still get upset thinking about it. My sister suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, coupled with severe rheumatism, and has been retired for many years now due to her poor health. It is important to my story to emphasize that my sister is a real trooper, probably the toughest […]

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Update To A Previous Post (He Never Had Her Back)

November 28, 2016

Quite some time ago  I submitted a story to you (titled “I‘ve got your back against the ‘A’s’ in your life” on your blog) about some trouble I had with a friend of my, at the time, boyfriend.  The story received, to my surprise, quite some feedback, and it felt great to know I had […]

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