Open Thread

by epi on June 21, 2012

Welcome to the Etiquette Daily

This open thread is your space to use as you like. We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica June 21, 2012 at 5:24 pm

My niece has known my best friend since she was a child invited her to her graduation party. My friend did not attend, I later advised my friend that ” she needed to give Nora a graduation present preferably cash,check,or gift card whichever was more convenient ”
My friend told me that she found the request offensive and went on to say it was not part of her culture(Jewish ) or something that she believed in, and that she never received any gifts. To which I commented that high school graduations for most Jews is a given as well as college.

I apologized and tried to clarify that my use of the phrase “needed to give” was informative with regard to the appropriate etiquettes. continuously expressing disdain she told me that included in the bag that I was to take to a mutual friend was a envelope for Nora with 40.00. The blank card was a beautiful and contained nothing but 2 badly crumbled 20′s ,there was any salutary congrats or good luck. Is it wrong for me to return the money to my friend?with the explanation that I respect her ideas and beliefs and cannot allow her to contribute to something she does not believe in and finds offensive because the receipent is my niece
.
My husband thinks that the returning of the money may somehow be misinterpret and that it may damage our friendship? However, I cannot stop thinking about the incident and my friends final remarks that ended the discussion “no more discussion this topic is behind us”, as well as the blank card into which I wrote “to Nora congrats and good luck, make us proud”. I wrote something in the card because Nora has felt that my friend cares about her and has cared her entire life. She would have been hurt that there was money and no words.

. I feel that the only way I can put this behind us is to return the money with a loving note to my friend stating how much i respect her beliefs and that i cannot allow her to compromise them and that with the return of the money the discussion is behind us and has truly ended.
What should I do?

Reply

Just Laura June 21, 2012 at 5:48 pm

I’m just going to ignore the fact that you think “Jews” don’t need gifts for high school graduations since it is expected of them.

Appropriate etiquette does not involve telling our friends that they should give presents to members of our family. In fact, we should refrain from ever telling our friends what to do with their money unless they ask for our advice. When your friend declined to attend the party, that should have been the end of the conversation. When your friend found your request for money offensive, that should have been the end of the conversation as well. That you are upset that the bills were crumpled after your friend explained that she found your request offensive… well, I would return the money and apologize, as you mention in the last paragraph.

Reply

Vanna Keiler June 21, 2012 at 7:44 pm

I agree with Just Laura’s response. From what I have read on this site and other similar sites, there has historically been no obligation for invitees to provide a gift to any party, be it wedding, graduation celebration or any other type, as far as mainstream American society and etiquette goes. In particular, if one is not attending the party or event, one need not mail or send a gift. It is nice to give, as it is nice to receive, but the compulsion to do so is purely up to the giver. The whole idea, if I am understanding correctly, in inviting someone to be a part of a celebration, was to host guests and include them in the celebration with meal and drinks and great conversation.

Reply

Alicia June 22, 2012 at 7:53 am

Well the mistakes as I see them
1. You failed to take friends no RSVP at face value and pestered her
2. You told friend what to do with her money (give it to your daughter)
3. You implied that it had something to do with religion where as it does not. I ‘m not Jewish and also view high school graudation as a no big deal event.
4. When giving into you pestering and giving something you read the card addressed to your neice before she did
5. When you felt that it was insufficent you forged a note from your friend.
6. Now you are planning on taking the money away from your neice and giving it back to your friend effectively doing the same thing t o your neice that you did to your friend telling her what to do with her money

What should happen
1. you should write a note of apology to your friend for being so presumptuous and greedy.
2. Neice should write thank you notes for all of her graduation gifts this money included
3. you should purchase and read a manners guide (Emily Post writes a few) for yourself.
4. after the I’m sorry note you should drop this subject respecting the request of your good friend.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: