“Jennifer” and I were in the same graduate program, and while not exceptionally close, did socialize with one another on occasion. Our graduate class was very small, so all of us spent considerable time together and following the receipt of our doctorates, would occasionally get together, gatherings that I have always enjoyed. Two years ago, as I was planning my own wedding, I did include her and her then-boyfriend on our wedding invitation list but did not expect them to attend, as my wedding was taking place in my hometown which is about 1800 miles away from where I currently reside and where I had gone to graduate school. However, I was inviting several other mutual friends and thought that it would be rude to not invite her and potentially make Jennifer feel excluded. Jennifer never RSVP’ed, and she did not come to the wedding. While I was briefly annoyed that the RSVP card never came, I chalked it up to her misplacing it or simply assuming that I would know that she would not make the cross-country journey.
Fast-forward to a year ago when Jennifer and her boyfriend “Todd” become engaged. She announces her engagement to her friends and acquaintances via text message and email, and I call and leave her a message to express my congratulations. Jennifer’s parents sent out invitations about a month later to an engagement party in honor of Jennifer and Todd. My husband and I promptly RSVP, attend, and present the happy couple with a gift – a costly silver-plated picture frame by a well-known designer. We had gotten several such items as wedding gifts and enjoyed displaying our professional wedding photos in them. I thought that Jennifer would enjoy this gift. However, weeks turn into months, and no thank you note, no phone call, not even an email acknowledging the gift comes across my desk. Mind you, the gift was not misplaced, as I had handed it directly to Jennifer who had handed it off to her mother (the latter sat next to her and was writing down gifts and their givers, presumably to be used for a later thank-you list).
A few months later, Jennifer’s sister (her Matron of Honor) sends out beautiful invitations to Jennifer’ shower, which was taking place at a country club near Jennifer’s hometown two hours away. Being in the middle of a pregnancy that had gotten complicated during this time, I had discussed it with my husband, and we both felt that making a long drive to a shower out of town would not be safe. However, I do proceed to select a present from Jennifer’s registry and have it sent to her sister’s house. This was another nice gift – a set of four silver-plated napkin rings, as well as four linen dinner napkins, all matching Jennifer’s china pattern. I never receive a thank-you note for this gift, either. At this point, I am seriously annoyed, as from my own recent wedding experience, I recall writing my thank-you notes as the gifts were coming in (I kept a stack on my coffee table and would pen a few each night), as well as immediately after my shower and immediately upon our return from the honeymoon. All of my 250 guests received their thank-you notes within one month of our wedding, and all of my shower guests received their thank-you notes within two weeks of the shower.
In another few months, we receive an invitation to Jennifer’s wedding, also taking place near Jennifer’s hometown. At this point, I am on modified bedrest, so we RSVP that we would not be able to attend and send a warm, handwritten card congratulating Jennifer and Todd. Seeing as how we had already given Jennifer two lovely presents (which we were not thanked for), and since we are not actually attending the wedding, we decide that we are not obliged to present her with a gift, other than a card. The wedding comes and goes, some of my former classmates attend, others don’t, and the pictures that Jennifer posts on a social networking site are truly beautiful. She looks radiant and lovely, and her new husband is positively glowing. Everything is fine, other than the lack of thank-you notes, right? Wrong!
A few weeks after the wedding, we received a nasty email from Jennifer, addressed to several of her classmates who did not attend the wedding. The email berates us for our selfishness in not attending the wedding and “not being there” for our friend who was “profoundly hurt” by our absences and further denigrates us for not giving her wedding presents. Then, Jennifer proceeds to shame everyone individually for their shower/wedding gifts. Apparently, since I had only given them a set of four napkin rings and napkins, as opposed to three sets of four, they are now (oh the horror) without the other three sets, which “upsets Todd, since we have the entire 12-piece china service, and only 4 napking rings”, which makes me “cheap” and “selfish”, more so since I did not bother to give them a wedding present. Another friend got berated for writing them a check that did not cover the cost of her and her husband’s dinners – “don’t you know that’s bad manners? You’re supposed to give as much as it costs to pay for yoru food”, etc. I could not believe my eyes. I did not bother responding to the email – simply deleted Jennifer’s email address and contact information from my address book and telephone, “unfriended” her on the social networking site and blocked her email address in my email program. What a gimme pig! 0507-10