Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Hello Ms. Grace!
I’m not sure if you remember me, but I actually wrote to you a few years ago about sending a wedding gift to a friend, and never receiving a written thank you note, and instead – a text message. You wrote a little blog post about this horrible incident and agreed that it was a case of bad manners.
Fast forward three years, here I am again, writing to you about the same offender, with a new offense. I have had sparing contact with this person since the text message incident. She and her husband live in the Minneapolis suburbs, and I have moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. I received an invitation last week… to attend her baby shower in Minneapolis… that is two weeks before my wedding. I knew that this friend was pregnant, and had planned to send a gift when the baby arrived, like a graceful person, but now… an invite to attend a shower? Really? I’m not a family member, and definitely not a close friend (reference sparing contact over the last 3 years)… why am I getting this invitation when I live over 2000 miles away and clearly cannot attend? I started looking at the baby registry (both of them) and saw over 400 items.
This is more than I have on my wedding registry. Now I’m just angry. Am I horrible person if I do not send a gift, and just send a card? Is this clearly a request for a gift since it is not possible for me to attend? Will the requests for gifts ever end? (I received THREE wedding shower invitations for her three years ago, despite, also, not being in the wedding or a family member or even living within driving distance.) What’s a Grace to do?
Looking forward to your sage advice,
Certainly, I remember you and your "text thanker" of a friend. (Pause for deep, cleansing breath.) First of all, No, emphatically, you are not a Horrible Person. That designation may be appropriate for another actor in this scene, but onto your dilemma....
I see she is up to her usual tricks, putting you in a Gracious dilemma. Instead of sending you an invitation to the baby shower, she should have simply sent you a birth announcement after the happy arrival. That would have been appropriate, particularly due to your relationship status, your geographical location and the rather momentous event you have on your near horizon. But her track record does not prognosticate that she would do the Gracious thing, and clearly she has kept to that Gruntly path. As you have been invited into an awkward situation, you have two options.
After promptly sending your RSVP regrets, you can:
1. Send a very modest gift (board book, bib, etc.) or a greeting card. She has done a yucky thing by inviting you and fishing for shower gifts, but you will do a Gracious thing by sending a small token or congratulatory card, which is the traditional response to a shower invite (however tenuous the connection may be.). This is likely what I would do--it is the path of least resistance, and Graces must often compensate for the Gruntliness in others.
2. Send nothing. This may be seen as a statement from your friend, but it sounds like at this point you won't shed any tears over a complete severance of ties. You're nearly there anyway.
The only word of caution in item 2...Graces try not to burn bridges; as a practical matter, you never know when you might end up snowed in at Minneapolis airport and need a friend--even one who texts thank you notes and trawls for gifts. Both 1 and 2 are completely acceptable; choose the one that feels right, and move onto more important matters, like your imminent marriage.
Congratulations on your impending nuptials; I am supremely confident that your wedding will be a Gracious affair; your intended is a lucky Grant of a Groom, I'll warrant.
Posted by Social Grace at 7:00 AM