Q: I was a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding five years ago. She and her husband moved to another city about two hours from me after they got married and we haven’t had a lot of contact since then. She recently contacted me to tell me she is having their first baby and wanted to know if I would like to arrange a baby shower for her? While I am happy for her, I was surprised she asked me, rather than letting me have a chance to think about what I should do. She also said she has an aunt who would like to give her a shower, as well as some co-workers. I awkwardly told her I would get back to her and made it a short conversation. Am I obligated to do this? I can’t believe she is looking at having three baby showers.
A: First of all, it was very inappropriate for your friend to ask you if you wanted to arrange a baby shower for her. Secondly, as to whether you are obligated to arrange a baby shower for her, the answer is “no”. Yes, you were a bridesmaid in her wedding; however, your paths have taken different directions since she got married. That, plus the fact she has not maintained a close relationship with you since her marriage, as well as the distance you now live from her, and the two other showers being planned for her, negate any obligation on your part to host a baby shower for her.
I suggest you call her and again express your happiness for her concerning the upcoming birth of her first child, and thank her for offering you the opportunity to host a baby shower for her, but tell her you feel the distance between where you live and she now lives, would make it very difficult for you to make all the arrangements necessary to host a shower. Do not mention the fact that two other showers are being planned for her as a reason for your decision. Instead, tell her you are so happy other showers are being planned for her, and ask her to make sure you are on one of those guest lists. Then, if after receiving the invitation, you cannot attend, be sure to send a baby gift.
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“Dear Dianne, Thank you so much for being a voice of civility and respect in this time when everything about our society is changing. The right way to treat people will never change! I am middle-aged and still raising my children and trying to instill manners in them. I always look forward to reading your articles.”
Dianne Isbell is a local contributing writer. Send your etiquette questions to Dianne Isbell at Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427, or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.