Author Topic: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?  (Read 6102 times)

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Twik

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #45 on: March 18, 2014, 05:10:46 PM »
They might perceive my lack of a gift as being rude when in fact that is not the case. Personally, I think it's rude of them to expect a gift.

It's actually quite rude to assign evil motives to people without evidence of such.
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ladyknight1

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #46 on: March 19, 2014, 09:02:26 AM »
OP, what have you decided?

artk2002

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #47 on: March 19, 2014, 09:09:58 AM »
They might perceive my lack of a gift as being rude when in fact that is not the case. Personally, I think it's rude of them to expect a gift.

It's actually quite rude to assign evil motives to people without evidence of such.

Twik is quite right. OP has given no evidence that a gift is expected by this cousin.

I think that we have here a scenario that plays out frequently: There's a difference between something being polite (that is, within the bounds of etiquette) and something with social or interpersonal consequences. I suspect that OP is actually concerned about the social consequences of her position, but seeing them in etiquette terms. It is very true that, under etiquette, not giving a gift is acceptable. Under the broader social context it still may be a bad thing. "Polite" is not a get-out-of-jail-free card.

OP, I'm not here to convince you that your beliefs are wrong, but to point out that you need to consider and accept all of the consequences of those beliefs. One of those consequences is that people who have weddings may feel hurt by your actions under those beliefs. That doesn't mean that your beliefs are wrong, or that you have to change them for other people, but it does mean that you have to accept that people are going to be unhappy with you because of those actions. You can't expect people to be happy with you, when you openly disapprove of a major (happy) event in their lives.
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kudeebee

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #48 on: March 19, 2014, 12:22:47 PM »
Here's the deal:
I have a much younger cousin who I saw a fair amount of prior to 2000 (she was about 8 or 9 then), but have barely seen her since then, mostly just in passing. Our entire family seemed to kind of just fall apart after 2000, I'm not sure what happened. No one is mad at anyone, I guess people just grow apart. She is 22 or so now and is getting married soon and I've been sent a wedding invitation. My understanding is that etiquette rules dictate that I am supposed to give her a gift even though I am not going to the wedding.
So my problem is that I don't believe in weddings or wedding gifts. I don't want to go into my beliefs here because the details of my beliefs are not important to the issue. I'm wondering what I'm supposed to do about the gift? They might perceive my lack of a gift as being rude when in fact that is not the case. Personally, I think it's rude of them to expect a gift. I've never really come across this problem before so I don't know what to do. Any suggestions?

To me, the key facts are bolded.  She is a younger cousin that you only see in passing.  It sounds like you are not going to the wedding and think etiquette says you must send a gift.  You don't believe in weddings or wedding gifts.

If you are not going to the wedding, you don't have to send a gift. Just reply "no" on the rsvp card or website or whatever method is given.  Do not state your beliefs, those are yours and your right to have.  If you can, write something like "hope you have a wonderful day".  If you don't feel good about writing something like that, then don't.


lmyrs

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #49 on: March 19, 2014, 12:39:23 PM »
I think that you have a faulty key assumption. You say in the OP that you believe that etiquette says that you must send a gift even if you don't go. That's just not the case. Etiquette never says you have to give a gift to anyone.

Now, that doesn't mean that you get out of familial or social "obligations" or expectations so easily. Only you know if it would be frowned upon by your circle/family if you declined to attend and did not send a gift. I don't think it would be so noticed in my family. But, my family is huge so no one really expects everyone to turn up and gifts are just a "nice to have", especially from the cousin generation who are usually included in a larger family gift with their parents, even if they're adults with families.

I do think that you are being ungracious by saying that the couple is rude for expecting a gift just because they sent you an invitation. Maybe they just want to see you at their wedding. Maybe they didn't want to invite you because you're not close but got pressure from your aunt. Maybe they are inviting all of their cousins and feel it would be really rude not to include you even if they don't think you are going to come. There's a million reasons why they sent you that invitation and "they just want a present" certainly wouldn't be my first guess.

I liken this to the poster in another thread who found her friend rude because he was planning his own birthday party and she didn't want to go. If you're feeling a bit guilty about not wanting to go, then it doesn't make them rude to invite you.

Specky

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #50 on: March 19, 2014, 05:13:57 PM »
In some defense of the OP, I did an online search for "If I receive an invitation to a wedding, am I required to send a gift if I don't go?", and slight variations of that statement.  I looked at the first 10 results.  (Sadly, neither EHell nor Miss Manners appeared on the first page of any of the searches.)  Of those first 10 results, 9 stated that yes, a gift should be sent, even if one declines the invitation.  The 10th stated it as a "no, but", as in "No, but you should send one anyway".   I realize this is incorrect advice, but it is what is out there and what is coming up first in searches. 

When I searched for "Are guests expected to give me a gift if they decline my invitation?", I did not get a direct answer to that question, but did get similar results to the previous search.  With this misinformation so readily available, it isn't difficult to see how anyone could develop the idea that an invitation obligates a gift.

Also, when I re-read the original post, I did not see anything that indicated that the poster intended to use the occasion of the invitation to state their views and beliefs about weddings and gifts. 




Lynn2000

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #51 on: March 19, 2014, 06:09:16 PM »
I think it's an interesting situation. Though, I am also a little unclear about what the OP is asking.

I think the basic facts (no, not required to send a gift for every invitation) have been covered (thanks Specky for pointing out that there is a lot of misinformation out there).

If the OP is concerned about appearing rude/uncaring to family (that is, it's not really rude but people might find it hurtful), that's a different situation, and one that would be good to prepare a strategy for, for the future. Then she can do something each time that is within the parameters of her beliefs, but which is more than "nothing," and should thus reinforce the family relationship adequately.

Ideas that come to mind:
--Heartfelt note of warm memories
--CD of old family photos and historical documents
--Homemade item that doesn't feel "gifty"
--Family heirloom, like one of Great-Grandma's spoons
--Scrapbook of current photos collected from family members and assembled by the OP

Depends on what the OP's beliefs allow. All of these things could be given not as "gifts to celebrate a wedding" but more as, "Oh hey, I thought of you [because you sent me an invitation] and here's a nice thing I thought you might like."
~Lynn2000

TootsNYC

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #52 on: March 19, 2014, 06:54:23 PM »
I think that if etiquette is followed exactly--in other words, if the only people invited to the wedding are people who genuinely care about either the bride or broom--then yes, you should send a message to these people on the occasion of such a huge life event. After all, you care about them, right? And a gift is the "code word" for "I recognize what a HUGE life event this is, and I want to do something to let you know how much I care about you and how well I wish you."

But there ARE other ways to send that message, and it's the message that matters, not the gift. To completely ignore such a huge event in the life of someone you care about is really hurtful.

If you get an invitation that isn't actually from someone close to you, this doesn't apply.

TurtleDove

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #53 on: March 19, 2014, 08:41:17 PM »
Yeah, I agree with TootsNYC. It isn't rude ever to not send a gift, but as another poster pointed out there are likely to be consequences to the OP's anti-marriage stance. In this case, though, it seems the OP barely knows the HC so I would just RSVP no.

gellchom

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #54 on: March 19, 2014, 11:32:22 PM »
I think that if etiquette is followed exactly--in other words, if the only people invited to the wedding are people who genuinely care about either the bride or broom--then yes, you should send a message to these people on the occasion of such a huge life event. After all, you care about them, right? And a gift is the "code word" for "I recognize what a HUGE life event this is, and I want to do something to let you know how much I care about you and how well I wish you."

But there ARE other ways to send that message, and it's the message that matters, not the gift. To completely ignore such a huge event in the life of someone you care about is really hurtful.

If you get an invitation that isn't actually from someone close to you, this doesn't apply.

Perfect.

Mikayla

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #55 on: March 20, 2014, 12:33:17 PM »

2- The relative RSVPs "no" to the invitation, along with or followed by an explanation of her beliefs leading to the "no".
If the note was a kind and simple sentence or two, I would not find this rude. I would make an effort to be sensitive to her beliefs in the future.



I trimmed the stuff I agreed with, but I totally disagree on this.  Polite wording doesn't make it less rude.

For some reason, it reminds me of someone posting a tragic situation on FB and asking people for prayers.  There's always that person who announces "Well, I don't pray, but....".

It's not about you.

I'm not saying I think OP is doing this, although a clarification would be helpful. 

TootsNYC

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #56 on: March 20, 2014, 01:21:51 PM »
And if you think your own beliefs are important enough to mention, especially when they are in opposition to the beliefs of the person whose life event this is, then you are essentially saying, "you're doing it wrong."

This is not an academic discussion, in which your conflicting beliefs might be a point of interest.

Margo

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #57 on: March 21, 2014, 12:48:45 PM »

2- The relative RSVPs "no" to the invitation, along with or followed by an explanation of her beliefs leading to the "no".
If the note was a kind and simple sentence or two, I would not find this rude. I would make an effort to be sensitive to her beliefs in the future.



I trimmed the stuff I agreed with, but I totally disagree on this.  Polite wording doesn't make it less rude.

For some reason, it reminds me of someone posting a tragic situation on FB and asking people for prayers.  There's always that person who announces "Well, I don't pray, but....".

It's not about you.

I'm not saying I think OP is doing this, although a clarification would be helpful.
This is a good point. In the situation of someone asking for prayers, you can either reply 'I'm thinking of you' or something similar which is sympathetic and appropriate to the situation but which does not promise or offer something you can't give or don't feel is appropriate, or you say nothing.

I thin the same applies here. Either you reply in a way which is is suitable for the situation but doesn't violate your beliefs, so you decline but with a nice note wishing them well in their future, or saying that you hope they will be very happy, or else you do nothing, which in this case would be sending a reply declining the invitation but not adding in a card or letter.

I think that the time to tell your friends you don't believe in marriage or gift-giving is at pretty much any time *except* when they send you a wedding invitation, save the date, or tell you that they are getting married. (the exception would be if they were asking you to be in the wedding party, when I think that more than a simple, polite decline would be appropriate)