- Jun 2003
- Dec 2003 Archive
- Jun 2004 Archive
When I quit my former place of employment I kept in touch with
Casey. We didn't see each other very often but we sent Christmas cards, etc.
Christmas 2003 she informs me she's pregnant with her first child. I was
thrilled to be invited to her shower. I also took a lot of time picking out
gifts from her registry for her present. Upon arriving I knew no one except
Casey. There were 30 people there and I am shy around people I don't know so it
was uncomfortable for me. I spent the 5 hours (yes 5 hours) talking to her
senile aunt about credit cards and luggage. Soon after I receive a birth
announcement and we talk regularly be email. One time she just doesn't email me
back and I don't hear from her. I begin planning my wedding and excitedly inform
her of my plans. Nothing. I make sure she's invited to my bridal shower. She
couldn't even bother to RSVP and say "I'm sorry I can't attend 'Julie's'
shower. Please give her my best." She didn't acknowledge the wedding invite
either. I was very hurt and realized she only invited me to her shower for one
more present because she sure didn't consider me much of a friend. I found out
many months later what happened to her. Apparently, after giving birth to her
son she promptly began an affair with her employee and was fired from her job.
Then, her husband found out and left her. I guess she's been too busy picking up
the pieces of her shattered life to worry about hurting my feelings!
As a member of a rather large extended Catholic family, with
more aunts, uncles, and cousins than I can often remember names for, I've been
invited to more weddings, showers, graduation parties, baptisms, etc. than I can
count. Also, I've endured more petty bitching and squabbles over etiquette
issues and perceived slights from my mother and various aunts than I care to
recall. It's been enough to convince me that, should I ever marry and decide to
reproduce, I should simply elope and forego completely any notion of receiving
any sort of shower. I don't want to deal with the headache of which great aunts
whose names I can't even remember should be invited, or how many weeks can go by
before the Thank You notes arrive without being blacklisted by the family.
I'm a pretty mellow and forgiving person myself, and after
enduring years of this sort of grief, I'm willing to let all but the most
thoughtless and egregious lapses of etiquette slide by without so much as a bat
of the eye. The anecdote I'm about to recall comes not from my family with their
endless, good-natured bickering, but from a group of high school friends, most
of whom really should know better.
In high school, I was friends with a group of about 10-15
girls. (The number varies depending on whom in the group you're asking. This
creates another etiquette nightmare, of the "why wasn't so-and-so
invited?" variety.) Since we all graduated in 2000, we've all maintained
differing levels of closeness with each other, but still get together as a group
on different occasions throughout the year.
One friend, Jami, moved to Utah after graduation to attend
college (we're all from Michigan), and in the last year has gotten married and
is now expecting her first child. This past Christmas she was home visiting her
family who still live in Michigan and invited everyone over to her parent's
house to socialize and meet her new husband, as none of us were able to attend
her wedding in Utah. It was supposed to be just a casual get-together and a
chance to socialize.
I went to the gathering with two other friends from the group,
whom I have always been closer to than the others and whom I speak with much
more often than the rest. We were incredibly excited at this opportunity to see
Jami and meet her husband--until the rest of the group arrived. They had all
come with gifts for Jami and her baby.
Lauren, Becca, and I were appalled! We asked the other girls
if this was supposed to be a baby shower, and they said no, they had just felt
like purchasing gifts for the new baby. Each new person who arrived had a gift.
We asked one friend, and she said that she had spoken to one of the other girls
the day before, and when she found out that they were bringing gifts, she had
run out to buy one. Would have been nice for someone to inform us! My friends
and I had always intended on buying gifts for Jami and her baby, but since we
received no shower invitation, we had intended on waiting until the baby was
born to send them.
Jami herself even seemed embarrassed at the shower of gifts
she wasn't expecting. When we apologized for not having anything for her, she assured
us that she had not intended for this to be a baby shower, and she completely
understood why we didn't bring gifts. The whole time she was opening her
presents, she kept apologizing to us, saying, "You guys, I'm so sorry! I
didn't mean for this to be a baby shower!"
Needless to say, I found it incredibly rude for our friends to
put us and our host in this awkward situation. And I'm sad to say, this isn't
the first time they've all decided to turn a casual gathering of friends into a
gift-giving extravaganza without letting the three of us in on the plan. My only
hope is that they don't do it intentionally, and will someday learn how much it
puts us out to be the only ones without gifts when we had no idea gifts would be
exchanged. Either that, or I'll have to learn to carry an assortment of wrapped
gifts with me to all get-togethers to assure I won't be caught without one
Hi Jeanne, First of all, let me say how much I
love this site. When my husband and I were married almost two years ago, it kept
me laughing at how much worse things could have been.
My story has to do with my SIL, "Laura." Laura and
her husband "Dave" found out they were pregnant shortly after my
husband and I got married, and my husband and I were very happy for them. I was,
at the time, quite friendly with Laura and talked to her off and on, but we
didn't see each other much since we live almost four hours apart.
The first sign that things were going to be, um, interesting
came with the baby shower invitation that arrived in October. (Their baby was
due in January.) Okay, this seemed a bit early to be having a shower, but I
figured it's her shower, and it was no big deal. Then I opened it, and the
registry cards fell out. Now, this annoyed me, as my husband and I had flat-out
refused to use the things when we registered, because we considered them tacky
and pushy. But since this wasn't about us and what we wanted, I figured, okay,
no sense in getting my feathers ruffled.
The details of the shower indicated that there was a theme of
"children's literature," and that no "overtly girly" items
were to be given. At this point, I became truly angry at this pushiness, a
feeling that only increased when I went to the online registry. Laura had
registered for, I kid you not, 15 pages of items, many of which were duplicates
(particularly the most expensive ones.) Which leads me to think that if she'd
gotten duplicates, she would have returned them to the store for cash. Lovely.
At any rate, Laura is my husband's only sister, and he wanted
to go to the shower (it was co-ed,) so I said okay. A week before the shower
happened, we were involved in a car accident and were unable to attend because
our only car was in the shop. We called Laura to let her know and told her that
we would be sending a gift. What with one thing and another, we were unable to
send a gift until after their daughter was born. So we called Laura and Dave and
asked when would be a good time for us to visit and drop off the gift. Laura
said that the coming weekend would be fine.
So my husband and I rearranged our schedules (they live, as I
mentioned before, almost four hours away) and went up to visit Laura and the
baby. The gifts we brought were two books about games for new parents
to play with their children, and a calendar for the new parents to record the
milestones of their daughter's life. Although they weren't terribly
expensive, my husband and I had put a lot of thought into picking them out (and
rearranging our budget to do so, since we were still newlyweds at this point and
money was excruciatingly tight.)
Laura greeted us at the door with her baby, took the gifts
from us, and tossed them aside without so much as a thank-you. The rest of the
visit went downhill from there, Laura apparently viewing her new baby as an
animated stuffed animal---cute until it cries, at which point she could be
handed off to someone else. And no, needless to say, we never did receive a
thank-you note. The baby is almost two now and our relationship with her mother
never really did recover.
My roommate's brother's girlfriend was expecting her third
child (from 3 different daddies) and my roommate, her mother, her aunt and
myself were invited to the shower. The shower was a 4 hour drive away. Thinking
to kill two birds with one stone, my roommate's mother rented a van in order to
transport some of her son's furniture to their new house as well. We ended up
leaving late due to problems at the rental store and, because there was so much
furniture, we ended up taking two cars. We had called just before we left the
house to let them know that we were on our way and that we were running late. It
was August and stifling hot. We finally get to the shower and lo and behold it's
practically over! Now we were not THAT late, maybe a half and hour to an hour
tops, and we had CALLED ahead! We sat down and were not even offered a drink
(the house did NOT have air-conditioning). The food was practically gone and ALL
the gifts were OPENED! No one had waited for the Grandmother, Great-Aunt and
Aunt to arrive! The mom-to-be tore through our gifts and commented on how much
money the soon-to-be grandma must have spent on the stroller, commenting how
nice it must be to have money. The family certainly are not rich, but they
aren't on assistance (everyone else at the shower was). Next thing I know,
everyone, and I mean EVERYONE in the room lights up. There are small children
running around, a toddler sleeping in the next room and a very pregnant women
and all these people are smoking. Now, I'm a smoker but I do NOT smoke in front
of children, especially in a closed up house. The mom-to-be was even puffing
away. Afterwards (another 4 hour drive home plus stopping to eat because we
never got fed) we did not receive a thank-you card. We didn't even get a verbal
thank you or an offer of re-imbursement on the van rental from the son for
dragging all his stuff to his new house (which is why we were late in the first
place). The two are married now and, in my mind, are the supreme example of a
white trash family.
I received an invitation to a cousin's baby shower that along
with the gift that was to be purchased at Baby's Are Us where she was
registered. Each guest was to also bring a large package of disposable diapers.
Would that not be a gift itself? I purchased a very cute outfit only and did not
buy diapers. I thought it rude to tell you what to bring.
I was recently uninvited to a baby shower. Our entire
family had been looking forward to the day when my cousin "Jen" and
her husband would have a baby. The day after I received the lovely
invitation, I RSVP'd to the phone number on the bottom. I got a machine,
but I left a message saying I would be delighted to attend the shower but that I
had to bring my four-month-old daughter; at that point in her life, I was
exclusively breastfeeding and I had never left her with anyone else for more
than 45 minutes. I never heard back from the purported hostess, but I got
a call back from Jen's mother, "Cathy". Cathy explained that
this was really Jen's special day and that she didn't want the atmosphere
spoiled by a bunch of crying babies and screaming kids, so she had made the
decision to exclude all the kids. Now, I realize this isn't technically an
etiquette blunder, but I think Cathy is confusing a baby shower with a
bridal shower. I believe the day is in honor of the impending baby.
And if Cathy thinks Jen might be upset by a couple of crying children, wait
until she's knee-deep in dirty diapers, colic and temper tantrums.
Obviously, it's the prerogative of the hostess to invite or not invite guests.
I simply pointed out that the restaurant where the shower was to be held was 45
minutes from my home and that the baby had to be fed every 2-3 hours. I
left her to do the math, but she instead asked if I could just leave her home
with my husband and a bottle. I told her that we were not using
formula, but Cathy reminded me that I had pumped my milk into a bottle on a
previous visit so other family members could feed the baby. Couldn't I
just pump a couple bottles, leave them with my husband and go to the shower?
At that point I politely explained that breastpumps aren't a substitute for
nursing and that the last time I had tried to pump out more than one feeding in
a row I ended up in bed with plugged ducts--a painful condition. I then
expressed my regrets and hung up. I understand that it was Cathy's right
to exclude all kids under 12, but what still has me shaking my head was how she
tried to tell me how to parent and feed my child for her and her daughter's
I first met "Grumpy" at my previous place of
employment at which we worked in the same department. "Grumpy"
was notoriously hard to get along with and many people tried to work around her
because everything always needed to be about her. She was rude and
profanely vocal about issues that bothered her, so I'm not sure why this
irritated me. Anyway, imagine our glee when she decided quit and buy a
house that was 2 hours away. You see she wanted a tax write-off
since she was getting $50,000 a year in alimony (for 10 years) and was making
more than that at our job (she even said if she met Mr. Right she wouldn't
remarry until after her alimony was up and couldn't see why she had to pay taxes
on it). Understandable. I am the type of person who tries to keep my
relationships positive no matter how negative and life sucking the person can
be, which made me her only friend. Not more than six months after she
moved we fell out of touch (trust me I didn't mind).
Two years later I received a call from her asking me to
help her find a job in our area because she met someone and was going to rent
out her house and move in with this gentleman. I called one of our former
co-workers who was looking for a person and reminded him of her negative
attitude, but since the position didn't require interaction he hired her. "Grumpy"
never called or sent me a thank you letter or email for helping her find a well
paying job. In fact there was no contact until a year and a half later
when I received an email that I thought was spam but noticed her email address
in it. It was from a large online retailer and it was a Baby Registry and
the message said "Please help us welcome "Grumpy's" and "(some
man's name)" bundle of joy due in April" Visit our registry at
"such & such.com". Just out of curiosity I check out their
registry and found they had registered using "Top of
the Line Baby Registry - because our baby deserves the best!".
Nothing on the list was under $70 and most gifts were $150+. Needless to
say, I deleted the email as if it was spam.
Page Last Updated May 15, 2007