I'm with you TurtleDove!
I like my friends and relatives. This sometimes seems to put me in a minority position on this forum ;-) If you are having a baby, I'm getting you something. If you are getting married, I'm getting you something. If you invite me to a party - I'm coming! IMHO, modern life is isolating enough without coming up with more reasons to turn down chances to socialize with friends.
Honestly, I agree with you. (Well, actually I don't like parties much, but anyway...) I even get gifts for friends and relatives when they just announce they're pregnant! For someone I'm close to, it could easily be 1) pregnancy announcement gift, 2) shower gift, 3) actual baby is born gift, 4) going to visit the baby for the first time gift... I like giving gifts.
The part where it gets sticky for me is being asked
for a gift. I think people have to be careful about that. And inviting people to a "shower" is asking them for a gift, IMO, because a "shower" is a gift-giving occasion. It's just a word, yes, but to me that word means "bring a gift," and other words--like bridal luncheon or meet-the-baby party--don't necessarily mean "bring a gift."
I could understand if some people don't feel that's an important distinction. My friend Amy, for example, in discussing reasons for giving her cousin's wife a shower for her fourth child, said, "Everyone would be getting them a baby gift anyway." It's true, I'm sure every single person she's planning to invite to the shower (mainly relatives) would have given the couple a baby gift anyway... spontaneously and with no prompting from anyone, in their own time and without much opportunity for the gifts from different people to be compared and judged. Now, they're being prompted, there's a deadline, and the gift will be announced, described, and set alongside everyone else's gift, so most people will probably spend more than they'd originally planned so they don't look cheap.
If this way of thinking seems really weird to you, good!
I hope that means you've had only good experiences at these things. This is just the way I've experienced things, and I think they can be awkward sometimes. To me the difference between asking someone for a gift, and them getting you a gift of their own accord, is pretty big, and I think the former has to be used carefully--first baby only, for example. Otherwise things can start to get a rude feeling to them. Totally IMO, of course.