I’ve been living in my fiance’s state for almost a year now. His family isn’t really all close, most have moved away, so I haven’t really met too many people family-wise or his parents’ friends-wise… it’s just been our friends. Recently, my mother-in-law asked me if I wanted to go to this baby shower with her in a couple weeks. At first, I said that I didn’t really feel comfortable just coming since I wasn’t invited. She said oh no, don’t worry, just come, no big deal. I asked her to make sure with the hosts that it’s okay just in case there’s a sit down lunch or something and they need to know numbers. She said once again that no, don’t worry about it, “that’s how we do it up here”. I told her ok, just wanted to be sure, because I had been to another baby shower up there (a friend’s) and it was almost like a mini-wedding- meaning I would have never brought someone with me just out of the blue. I have no idea who this shower is for, it doesn’t seem like my mother-in-law is very close with this person because when I inquired information she just said, “Oh so and so’s cousin’s daughter”, type of answer, so I feel really weird about this. She insists that I go with her. Do I go? And if I do, do I buy a present? I feel kind of weird asking her to put my name on any card that’s from her, but I also don’t have tons of money to go spend on someone that I don’t even know, don’t even know what gender the baby is, and I wasn’t invited in the first place. Help? 0124-14
I wouldn’t touch this invitation with a ten foot pole. If you had been wanted at this shower, you would have received an invitation. And your future mother-in-law’s claim of “that’s how we do it up here” could be nothing more than a declaration of her own bad manners she’s willing to justify using a debate fallacy known as Argumentum ad populum. It’s a fallacious argument that concludes a proposition to be true because many or most people believe it. In other words, the basic idea of the argument is: “If many believe so, it is so.” It may be true that many of your future mother-in-law’s friends and acquaintances rudely presume upon a hostess with more added guests but that doesn’t make it good manners.