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I Do Want A Baby Shower! I Don’t Want A Baby Shower!

After discovering a good friend of mine was pregnant I offered to throw her a shower. She gratefully accepted and over the course of the next few months honed in on what she wanted, how many people, etc. I followed her wishes and signed a contract for a lovely venue that she approved of for the number of guests she’d told me to expect. Two days later she said she had changed her mind and no longer wanted a shower, that it was “too much stress” seven months into her pregnancy. (Note: I have paid for and planned everything, only asking her for a guest list, a vision for the shower, and registry info.) I gently explained I’d put down a hefty non-refundable deposit on the venue and catering, but she was insistent so I began the work of trying to negotiate a cancellation of the contracts. It wasn’t easy and I lost some money on it.

Three days after that she decides that she does want a shower, but she wants it thrown at her home. She insists it “wont’ be a lot of work” and that even though she’d like the new date to be very close to her due date “we can just cancel” if she goes into labor. I again pushed back and explained that throwing a shower in her home would in fact require just as much if not more work than a venue, and that I really wasn’t comfortable “just cancelling” given the time, effort, and expense that goes into planning. (I also wasn’t comfortable with sending an invitation to 90+ people, 90% of whom she knew wouldn’t make it, but wanted to include for the sake of getting gifts off the registry.) She insisted, so I told her I was sorry but while I was happy to help by bringing food or decorations, I couldn’t take on planning this whole new shower after she cancelled the last one with so little thought. She hasn’t spoken to me since, though I did receive an invite to the shower she is throwing for herself! In her home! Hosted by her! (That went to 90+ people.) I don’t even know whether I want to go at this point; I’m so disappointed and hurt by the whole mess, I don’t know if the friendship is worth salvaging. 0919-17

That is certainly a distressing and awkward situation your friend has placed you in.   Having offered once to host a shower and been asked to cancel it at cost to yourself,  you are under no obligation to host anything further that she wants.    What is lacking in your friend is the humility and gratitude that someone cares enough to offer to host a shower in her honor.  I’d go so far to say that not caving to her demands is an act of kindness towards her since you are not facilitating a character flaw in her.

{ 39 comments… add one }
  • Aleko March 13, 2018, 6:07 am

    I would say, just decline, and don’t send a gift either. Even without the back-story to this, throwing a shower for oneself for any occasion is a thoroughly improper thing to do and shouldn’t be countenanced. But with the back-story – heck, she already owes you for a lot of work and money on the shower she decided to cancel, and she wants you to come and give her a shower gift??? (And, based on the story so far, my bet is that if you accept she will take it for granted that you are obligated to bring food or decorations ‘because you offered!’ – you won’t be just a guest.)

    Also, supposing 90% of those invitees decline and many of those who don’t even send a gift either, which is perfectly possible given the short notice and the bad manners of throwing a shower for oneself, you definitely don’t want to be around at this disaster of a party: especially as from the sound of this she is quite capable of blaming the whole debacle on you for having ‘let her down’.

    It is *just* possible that all of this is caused by the hormonal and general emotional upheaval of a first pregnancy, plus who-knows-what promptings from family/other friends co-workers about ‘you *ought* to have a shower. Why is your fried OP not throwing you a shower?’. I would suggest you just duck the whole mess right now: after the baby is born, make contact again and see if she is back to being the good friend you knew.

    • Devin March 13, 2018, 11:51 am

      I think your last line is the best suggestion. If she has so much stress leading up to having this baby, bow out till after the baby comes. Maybe send a congratulations card after the birth and see if she reaches out to you. If not, this isn’t a friendship you need to maintain. Good luck!

    • Dee March 14, 2018, 10:49 am

      As a woman, I take offense at your suggestion that I can be manipulated to such an extent via my hormones. Pregnancy does not suddenly change a decent person into a greedy selfish one. But the idea that it can undermines all women and reinforces men’s mysoginistic attitudes.

      The reason for the mess OP finds herself in is that she let the friend become the host. If OP had stayed the host then it would have been OP’s decision as to the guest list, the venue, etc. OP would have decided how much money to spend based on what she could afford. And thus the cancellation of the shower would been a cost more in line with that OP was comfortable with. Giving hosting privileges but not responsibilities over to the friend was the biggest mistake.

      The registry is just the icing on the cake. There is little chance the friend won’t display her sense of entitlement again after the baby is born. OP should back away slowly and never look back. She’s already given a very large present to the friend, in the loss of the deposits for the shower, and it’s far, far more than the friend deserved. If OP wants to maintain a relationship with this woman then she has been warned, and can’t complain the next time she is used and abused. “Fool me once” and all that.

  • jen d. March 13, 2018, 6:32 am

    Yes! Well done, OP! You did a great job. Honestly, you’ve been a better friend to her than she’s been to you.

  • Abby March 13, 2018, 6:45 am

    OP, she doesn’t actually want a shower. She wants gifts, and a shower is a necessary evil to get them. Her hope was that she probably *would* go into labor right around the time of the shower, prompting the cancellation of the shower, but since people had already purchased gifts, they’d go ahead and give them to her at a later date. She’s selfish and a gimme pig and unless she’s normally a very kind and considerate person and this is a one-off, I wouldn’t try too hard to salvage this friendship.

    • Michelle March 13, 2018, 9:58 am

      I agree- this was a total gift-grab. I wouldn’t send a gift, maybe a congrats card *after* the baby is born.

    • Vic March 13, 2018, 11:26 am

      I think your take on this situation is probably correct. If anything, she should have offered to reimburse the OP for the money that was already lost.

    • MelEtiquette March 13, 2018, 1:06 pm

      Although I don’t want to judge OP’s friend based on this one situation, I have to agree with this. I bet if we probed further, OP could come up with several more instances in which friend behaved in a similar manner.

      If I were OP, I’d probably send a present to the baby after the birth was announced, but would limit contact with this person otherwise. Even if it’s just hormones that have caused this woman to act so erratically, the ball is now in her court so to speak, and it’s up to her to (1) recognize how poorly she has treated OP and (2) reach out to apologize/make amends.

    • JJ March 14, 2018, 12:41 pm

      Agreed. The fact that she invited 90 plus people to her home shower she was throwing herself is ridiculous. Is she a Kardashian or big celebrity? She must be extremely popular and social if she’s that close to 90 people Or she’s a gift grabber. I’m guessing the second option. Sounds like she just wants some free gifts plus someone to do all the shower prep at her house and all the clean up and organizing of the gifts after. She probably wanted writer letter to send out thank you cards for her as well and sign the mom to be’s forged signature on them.

      If this woman is like this now I can only imagine her once she pushes the kid out. People who are this inconsiderate before a child tend to be even worse post child because now they have the “I have a kid so I can’t” but you can do it for me kind of attitude. I would honestly consider yourself lucky letter writer that you saw the signs now and do not go to her shower or buy her a gift unless it’s an etiquette book.

  • Dominic March 13, 2018, 6:46 am

    OP, I am so glad to hear that you did not go along with her plans to host her own shower in her home, once she had negated all the work you had done to plan a shower for her (as well as gone to some expense). I’m sure she would have driven you completely crazy. In your position, I would not accept the invitation to her self-planned shower, but perhaps would respond with a card, no gift, and would leave it at that. Not only was she rude enough to force you to cancel your shower and lose money, she gave you the silent treatment afterwards. Sadly, it doesn’t sound like there is much of a friendship left to preserve.

  • Redblues March 13, 2018, 8:04 am

    I would send my polite regrets, and neither attend, nor send a gift. If she had the nerve to ask why, (who am I kidding, of *course* she will!) I would say that a shower was “too much stress” for her, to which I did not wish to contribute, and that my budget for her shower had already been spent. She sent invitations to you and another 90 people only because she wants you to send gifts. You already know this. She doesn’t want your company, she isn’t even speaking to you. She will continue not speaking to you after the shower, whether or not you go. Save your time and money. Her outrageous behavior will only get worse when she can conveniently blame it on stress, hormones, and sleep deprivation after the baby is born.

  • shoegal March 13, 2018, 8:05 am

    The grace period to decline the shower had clearly expired when this new mother wanted to cancel. She could have at least offered to cover the loss of money the OP suffered when this all went down. She had her nerve, in my opinion to call the OP up and ask for her to host a new party. When the OP declined she should have been way more than understanding about it. The fact that she hasn’t spoken to the OP since makes it seem as if she is the injured party – which is not the case. In my opinion, the OP can chalk it up to hormones etc, take the high road and attend the shower, give a gift and if nothing more comes of the friendship then she can clearly walk away with a clean conscience.

  • clairedelune March 13, 2018, 8:21 am

    NINETY-PLUS people??!?

    • PJ March 13, 2018, 1:11 pm

      Perfect response.

    • AJ March 13, 2018, 8:59 pm

      Quite. That is someone who though long and hard about who to invite and how many gifts she’d get.

    • Jazzgirl205 March 13, 2018, 10:02 pm

      Yeah. I thought showers were small affairs of about 15 people. You can’t just ask someone to throw you a shower and spend money on 90 people.

    • JJ March 14, 2018, 12:45 pm

      I have a hard time believing one pregnant woman can be good friends and close to that many people. Maybe if she’s got a large extended family I could see maybe 50 people between large family plus good friends. But 90? Get out. That’s crazy. Sounds like a Kardashian celebrity thing not something a normal pregnant woman does. I highly doubt she barely even knows most of the 90 some people she invited. She must have took her entire Facebook friends list and just hit invite to party group in hopes of getting all the gifts she can.

  • WendyB March 13, 2018, 9:13 am

    I can only assume there is going to be a follow up to this. If you hear of one, OP, please share.

  • Wheeling March 13, 2018, 9:43 am

    I predict that the shower will get cancelled at the last minute. Either she’ll go into labor, or just say she is too pregnant to manage to host. That way people will give her the gifts, but she won’t actually have to thank them in person or anything.

  • viviennebzb March 13, 2018, 10:03 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, OP, for standing strong and not cooperating with getting jerked around by your flighty “friend”.

  • Livvy17 March 13, 2018, 10:28 am

    I’d probably steer clear until the baby is born, then maybe send a gift, or set up a time to see her after the smoke has cleared. I’m being generous here, in 1) thinking if she was a good enough friend to host a party for, this might be an aberration, 2) thinking that somehow she didn’t realize that you couldn’t get your deposit back 2 days after booking, 3) she’s enduring some sort of pregnancy hormone induced psychosis. (That hormone storm, especially near the end, is really strong) and 4) she might realize the error of her ways when a little time has passed.
    You’ll see. Parenthood can really alter some people – things that they would have thought of as rude aren’t any problem when they’re doing them for their precious babies, etc., but it’s not always the case. A good friend generally gets the benefit of my doubt, for at least one mess up. I’ve made a few myself, over the years. 🙂

  • Harry's Mom March 13, 2018, 12:06 pm

    Consider this chain of events as a gift to you! You now know her true colors. Yes, perhaps this is some weird hormonal snafu, but that takes a lot of chutzpah to ask you to take a financial hit based on her own whim considering all the work you put into it, and then ask you to do it all over again. And 90 people; really?

  • NostalgicGal March 13, 2018, 12:52 pm

    You already contributed to her having a baby by working up a shower that she later declined, and you are out money you spent on that. I would decline to attend, maybe or maybe not send just a card, and move on. If she is on you later about why you didn’t come/didn’t send a gift, explain carefully that you already gave a gift in the fact you planned out the shower she wanted then rejected and you didn’t get any deposits back, so you consider those funds your gift (and the unspoken had she gone through with it as planned she would have gained… so her loss). She may not see it that way. You did your best. Move on through.

    • eeek March 13, 2018, 6:33 pm

      I agree with this. OP’s gift of time, attention, and cash was already given. Further gifting is not needed, and it would be an awkward conversation to explain that (shiny polite spine needed), should this friend be so rude as to demand an explanation. I, too, would decline to attend. I would likely send a happy card wishing the baby and joyous family well. Move on through, indeed…while also counting my lucky stars for having learned, early, that this friend may not be so much of a friend, or the sort of friend I care to have.

  • pennywit March 13, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Did you consider repurposing the venue and other contracts into some other party you might enjoy?

    • jokergirl129 March 14, 2018, 10:35 am

      I’ll admit I don’t know much about this sort of thing but once the date was finalized I don’t think the OP would have been able to extend the date for another party. And even if she could depending on how far she could push it back for (and whether that would have cost more money or not) then it probably still would have been last minute. Not to mention any other number of changes the OP would probably have to make and if there wasn’t much of a reason to throw a party then it just would have been a waste. So in the end OP probably wouldn’t have been able to do much.

  • Rinme March 13, 2018, 2:17 pm

    Good for you OP! I cheer for your spine of steel.

  • Bea March 13, 2018, 2:43 pm

    Woah I’m sorry you lost some money but this person isn’t a friend to keep around, you dodged a much more expensive bullet if she just went along with it the whole time.

  • jokergirl129 March 13, 2018, 4:09 pm

    OP I would just decline the invite and not go at all. Your friend was very inconsiderate to you especially after you put in so much hard work and money arranging a baby shower for her and then cancelling it at the last minute. The fact she wanted you to set up another baby shower again at the last minute was also very rude. It’ll be up to you if you want to attempt to salvage this friendship or not but I think it’ll be for the best if you just not go to the baby shower. I have a feeling it might not go well and the last thing you need is for her to potentially blame you for it.

  • staceyizme March 13, 2018, 4:14 pm

    It appears that your “friend” isn’t very friendly. It would be wise to steer clear of any dealings with her other than what may be truly essential (if, for example, you share a social network, an office or a church in common, you can be civil and completely non-committal when solicited for future events). There isn’t anything you could have done to prevent her from cancelling the party. Her antics are so stupefying and rude that you’ll likely feel a sense of chagrin for some time to come. But it doesn’t sound as if it was preventable.

  • Jelaza March 13, 2018, 4:32 pm

    I’m wondering how tacky it would be if the OP made a fancy-looking certificate indicating that her shower gift to the friend is not requesting reimbursement for the money spent on the cancelled shower.

    • ladyv21454 March 14, 2018, 9:54 am

      It might be tacky, but I would SO do it. (Grease up the Etiquette Hell rotisserie spit, Ms. Jeanne.)

  • Chris March 13, 2018, 5:42 pm

    90 people? 90% of 90 people (80 people) for a baby shower? Obviously I am way behind the times and any sensibility about such things. How the kittens did this ever become a thing for anyone?

    • Aleko March 14, 2018, 2:09 am

      Quite. Who honestly thinks they know 90 people who give a stuff whether they are having a baby or not, let alone feel warmly enough about it or them to want to buy them a present and/or come to their party? And who would put hand on heart and say they felt warmly enough to all those 90 people to even suggest it?

    • Abby March 14, 2018, 7:38 am

      When my cousin was pregnant, her friends threw her a baby shower. I am not sure if she provided them with a guest list, but they took it upon themselves to send a Facebook invite to every single adult woman on her Facebook friends list, which was probably upwards of 300 people total, including me, who lived 10 hours away, and our elderly grandmother, who also lived several states away. They said “they didn’t want anyone to feel left out”. I am sure they weren’t really expecting people to travel 600 miles each way to attend a 2 hour shower. It was basically a solicitation for gifts.

      • staceyizme March 17, 2018, 9:33 pm

        I suppose it’s a “sign of the times” to send Facebook invitations to the entire list of “friends”. But the question of distance isn’t always the deciding factor in who is willing to attend a baby shower. Those who are emotionally and socially closer are apt to make a greater effort (budget, time and health permitting) and there are always a number of folks who are invited more as a courtesy than as a guest whose attendance is expected. I guess all of that backstory is to say that “gift grab”, to me, connotes invitations sent without consideration to all and sundry in hopes of receiving money or gifts for a milestone event. The telling factor that would separate your shower hostesses from clueless/ needs help winnowing a guest list verses “gift grabbers extraordinaire” is this- did they scale for large attendance? In other words, were their intended expenditures for food, drink and space adequate to the possible attendance of the majority of those invited? If the answer is “no!”, then they are gift grabbers. If they were prepared to spend upwards of $1000 to $3000 to adequately host such a function, then they are merely clueless.

        • Abby March 19, 2018, 1:06 pm

          The party was held at the house of one of the two hosts. I’ve never been to her house but I am guessing it would not have accommodated several hundred people. I think the final guest count was around 30 (still a pretty large turnout!) and the hosts made cupcakes. That’s it. Cupcakes. The guests mingled around and then sat down to watch my cousin open presents. There were no games played. Basically, the hosts went to very minimal trouble throwing the event.

  • kingsrings March 13, 2018, 10:19 pm

    I wonder if this is the friend’s pregnancy hormones getting the best of her, or is this just a part of her personality that the OP didn’t know about? And 90 guests for a shower?? That sounds like way too many guests for just a shower.
    This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of someone throwing their own baby shower. Talk about having no shame! The reasons I’ve heard to justify this is either because nobody offered to throw one for them so they have to do it themselves. Or they want complete control over the festivities and don’t trust anyone to give them the shower that they want. Apparently, coming across as tacky isn’t a concern.

  • Anonymous March 14, 2018, 5:32 am

    Does anyone else see a similar situation playing out in five or six years, with Friend’s child (now kindergarten age) flip-flopping over, say, a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese?

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