General Etiquette > Family and Children

Why bother mentioning it?

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PoisonIvy:
My sister and I have never had the best relationship.  She is a year younger than me and though we are in our late 20's she's kind of a textbook sufferer of "middle child syndrome".  I won't go into it here, but we've had our childhood/teenaged rivalries, but unfortunately it looks like I'm the only one who's outgrown them.  I've lived overseas in England for the past ten years (I'm an east coast US native) and this spring I took a trip home (my first in four years) for our dad's 60th birthday and her treatment of me was absolutely appalling.  My British fiance - who'd never met my family before - was absolutely shocked.

Anyway, that's a story for another day.  This one concerns birthdays and holidays.  Every year, my sister does the same exact thing - she sends me an online e-card for my birthday (to her credit this year she actually sent it on my birthday instead of the usual three days late), backed by an email packed with lame excuses: "I was going to call you but I don't know how to dial an international number" (er, for the past ten years I've provided the full dialling codes from the USA to everyone back home).  The other one is "Look out for your b-day present, I sure hope I managed to get the address and the postage right."  Predictably, every year the alleged present doesn't turn up.

Now, I don't really care about the present at all.  It's the lame excuse and the lack of effort that gets my back up.  My sister attended an Ivy League university, and holds a high-level position in a PR company.  This is not a woman who doesn't know how to dial a telephone number or send a package by airmail.  She is not one of these hopelessly disorganized types either.  In fact, I am probably more disorganized than she is, and I still managed to order her birthday present (an iPod) and get it to her on time, despite being overseas.

I'm tempted to send her an email that says, "Hey, that birthday present you mentioned still hasn't shown up.  Which address did you send it to?  I'm wondering if I need to pay my neighbors a visit to see if they got it by mistake."  Incidentally, my birthday was five weeks ago.

Brennie:

--- Quote from: PoisonIvy on December 10, 2006, 05:44:16 PM ---I'm tempted to send her an email that says, "Hey, that birthday present you mentioned still hasn't shown up.  Which address did you send it to?  I'm wondering if I need to pay my neighbors a visit to see if they got it by mistake."  Incidentally, my birthday was five weeks ago.

--- End quote ---

Heck yes I would send her an email asking about it! After all you wouldn't have wanted her to spend her time and money and it "wasn't delivered". I can see how sending an email could be considered a faux pa IF she hadn't stated that she sent you a present. I send presents to Kansas every year for Christmas and if it hadn't gotten there then I would want them to give me an electronic heads up so I could check it out.

Incidentlly, I'm sorry your sister can't seem to drop the sibling rilvary. My sister is 10 years older then me and after she had moved out (when I was about 9) my mom married someone who was more, shall we say, well off then my biological father had been. As a result I had a stuff, NOT a better childhood as my step dad turned out to be a few cogs short of a gear, but I had a TV in my room, so it must have been better. She never misses a moment to throw that back in my face.

She doesn't do it in front of the fam however! That's terrible that she treated you so horribly when you brought your fiance around for the first time!

FoxPaws:
I would ask once. If she offers some lame excuse, I'd skip sending her birthday and holiday presents and stick to e-greetings. She obviously doesn't want an adult relationship with you, and you aren't being fair to yourself if you keep pursuing one.

sammycat:
I would ask once. If she offers some lame excuse, I'd skip sending her birthday and holiday presents and stick to e-greetings. She obviously doesn't want an adult relationship with you, and you aren't being fair to yourself if you keep pursuing one.

I second this advice.  At the very least, if, on the (seemingly) off chance that she did actually send you a present this year and it has gone astray you'll be able to try and track it down.  Call her on it - ask where and when it was posted and can she provide a receipt or something so that you can try tracing it. That might provide some interesting answers. Then, if she really hasn't sent you a present, I'd also stop sending her anything.  I think this is one of those times where "it is better to give (on your part) than receive" should fly out the window, as this relationship seems a bit one sided.  Unfortunately I speak from experience.

Clara Bow:
I don't really know what to tell you. I think that you should tell her you didn't get the gift and see what she says, but I wouldn't expect miracles. And I would definitely not buy her any more expensive gifts! She doesn't deserve it, and not because she doesn't reciprocate, but because she can't seem to treat you like a sister and a person. I'm so sorry that this is happening to you, you do not deserve it.

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