1. Sandra

    I received an email invitation from a friend’s husband to attend his wife’s birthday party. I RSVPed yes. A few days later, I received an email, on which I was Bcc’ed, from a friend of the birthday girl. The email asked me to send a check to cover the cost of the various wines that the birthday girl wanted to taste at her party. The email also listed the planned menu. The list included a variety of foods and quantities (i.e., Deviled Eggs, three dozen) and asked me to sign up to bring one of the items.

    Rather astonished, I contacted the birthday girl to let her know that another of her friends was soliciting food and money for her party. I thought this would be news to my friend. I was mistaken.

    Now I find myself in the doubly awkward position where I am being required to pay money to attend a party and I’m being assigned a dish to bring to a party that wasn’t even defined as a potluck in the first place AND I called out the birthday girl by accident on her faux pas because I didn’t think she was responsible for it in the first place.

    Was I wrong in the first place to feel that the monetary contribution and assigned potluck item was tacky? Do I need to do anything to get back in the birthday girl’s good graces, having called her out on her tackiness?

  2. Alicia

    No just change your RSVP to No. It is fine to have a potluck or to share hosting but that needs to be put out there at the start. At this point attending will be awkward and you are better off declining and inviting friend out to for something at another time.

  3. Shelly

    I recently received an extremely thoughtless and pretty cheap gift from someone who was supposed to be a good friend 30+ yrs. She always puts thought and $$$ into what she is giving to everyone else. Even neighbors. Over the years I have given very generously to her and her children. From the gifts I have received from her I would wonder who they were either re-gifted from or what gift basket she received them from. My problem is that I have no idea how to write a thank you note for this thoughtless gift. The gift actually would have been more appropriate to bring to someone as a hostess gift for a dinner party. Pretty hurt by this. Any thoughts from anyone???

    • Clara

      Was the gift a birthday gift? We can never question a person’s gift or scold someone for not giving us something more appropriate. We can only control our own behavior and reaction. The only thing you can do is send her a thank you note for giving you a gift in recognition of whatever the special occasion was: Dear Sue, thank you so much for the birthday gift, I had a wonderful birthday and hope to see you soon. Love, Jane.
      If you feel that this is a trend and she always gives you the short end of the stick, then stop giving so generously to her and her children. This doesn’t mean you purposely find a cruddy gift, just cut back on how much time and $$ you are putting into her gifts.
      Is she a good friend to you in other ways? Try to focus on that, which is actually more important in the long run. Good luck!

    • Chocobo

      You should write a thank you letter to her thanking her for the gift as you would anyone’s gift. Whether you continue your relationship with her over the quality of gifts depends on what you value in your friendships. If gifts are that important to you, then perhaps you should consider reducing your generosity to her and focusing on other aspects of your relationships.

  4. Clara

    Because I have moved on to another job, my co-workers from my old job threw me a “going away” party last night. It was held at a nice restaurant, we had a lot of fun, and they gave me a generous gift card. I would prefer to send them individual thank you cards rather than one thank you card sent to the workplace. Some of them were people who never attend work functions, so I was very touched that everyone gave up their Friday night to wish me well. Here is the dilemma…the greeting card was signed by everyone who was at the party, but also by people who were unable to attend. So, I have no idea if those who signed the card but did not attend chipped in for the gift card. In other words, obviously the thank you cards sent to those who attended will show appreciation for their attendance as well as the gift card, but I have no way of knowing if the 4 or 5 people who did not attend but signed the card gave $$ toward the gift card. My supervisor arranged the event and gift, and knowing her, I know that she would let people sign the card even if they didn’t give toward the gift (which is perfectly fine as their kind words were appreciated as well) How would I even word a thank you card like that? Should I revert back to a general thank you card sent and just write individual cards to those who gave me an additional little gift? Any ideas??

    • Jody

      Clara — I would do what you describe at the end of your paragraph, write one general thank-you for the group card/gift, and individual thank-yous for those who gave you an individual gift. That’s much easier than trying to figure out “who did what” on the group gift and still gets your appreciation across.

  5. Gwenn

    My husband and I like to invite friends and family over to our home for casual dinner parties. We usually issue the invitation over the phone a couple of weeks in advance. The usual response is, “That sounds great..let me check with my wife/husband and get back to you”. Then we get a response in the next couple of days with a yes or no. In the past month, we had 2 guests respond that they need to get back to us, and they never did. One even said let me call you back in an hour, and we never heard from them again. Both of these invitations were issued to new friends that my husband met a few months ago at a business conference.
    What is the proper etiquette from our end? Are we required to call back and remind our invited guest that they didn’t get back to us? Or, should we just chalk it up to a lesson learned and write these people off as rude and inconsiderate? It is very inconvenient for me to not know the correct amount of dinner guests while I am planning out the meal.

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      One follow-up call is a good idea. Yes, they should give you an answer without you having to remind them, but sometimes things fall through the cracks. If they still don’t give you an answer after the follow-up call, assume they’re not coming.

  6. Brockwest

    1) The surprise potluck dinner. You accepted to a regular party. You found that it was a potluck assigned dinner with a price tag. You didn’t accept to that party, so it is perfectly correct for you to decline the invitation. I would not say why you changed your mind.
    2) Inexpensive gift: The strong rule is that one is not supposed to “notice” the expense of the gift. A gift is a gift. If you feel it is unfair that you spend more, then spend less. This can be accomplished quietly by changing your gift to a new book or something so it is not obvious that you’ve changed your style. I would Never discuss the situation with the friend. Perhaps their financial situation has changed.
    3) I’ll get back to you’s that don’t: I absolutely hate this near the top of my list. It happens to us often. We’ll invite someone to a concert with good tickets and they of course say they have to check with their significant other. Some people, for some reason, feel it is fine to wait until the day or two before the event to give an answer whether it’s a yes or a no. It drives me crazy. If it’s a no, I’m potentially stuck with wonderful tickets.
    I have found you can’t assume they are not coming. We had great tickets for our youngster who invited a friend and got the response from the parents that they would let us know. Several weeks passed and I had her call again, only to have her get solidly chewed out by the girl’s father that they Said they would let her know, not to bother them. As it was by now only several days before the concert I had her invite another friend. A couple of hours before the concert on the day of the concert the mother called and asked what time we were picking up. I explained that they had never responded, so we had been forced to invite someone else. The mother went into a rage. Now I eat the tickets, but just don’t invite the non-responders again. I absolutely do call if someone didn’t get back as they said. I also call if the invite was a few weeks before to re-confirm. I’ve been occasionally surprised to find people back out on the re-confirmation call. (rare)

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