Open Thread

by epi on September 30, 2013

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsey September 30, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Several months ago I offered to co-host a baby shower with the sister-in-law of the mommy-to-be. The mother of the mommy-to-be offered to pay for the shower if we did all the work and hosted it.

In the beginning stages of planning I offered ideas and suggested meeting up to do some planning. The sister-in-law not only shot down all of my ideas, she never seemed to want to meet up. After several attempts, I gave up trying to help and just told her to let me know if she needed anything. At my last request, I was asked the week before the shower to pick up the food from a caterer.

Since I was not involved in the planning and did not feel I actually contributed, I purchased a rather expensive gift for the baby. At the end of the shower the sister-in-law received all of the credit and was thanked by the mommy-to-be, which I thought was appropriate.

Today, I received an email from the sister-in-law indicating that the mother of the mommy-to-be did not pay for the entire shower and she is asking that I pay $150 of her $350 costs. I responded politely and told her I could give $50, but I did not think it was fair for her to require me to pay when I had no involvement in the planning and that I wouldn’t have purchased a gift had I known . She responded back that she expects me to pay and that is unfair to her because she put in so much time and money.

How do I respond back to her demands for money for a shower I did not plan or receive credit for? Or am I in the wrong? I find this not only to be rude but placing me in a very difficult position.

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Just Laura September 30, 2013 at 3:36 pm

“Dear Sister-in-Law,
Due to unexpected expenses in my own life, and my understanding that ‘Jane’ assumed the total cost of this shower, I’m only able to contribute $50 at this time. Please find the check enclosed. I wish you well.
Sincerely,
Lindsey”

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Elizabeth September 30, 2013 at 3:44 pm

I think you already have responded – your first note that you didn’t think it was fair because of the reasons you listed was very clear. Personally, I don’t think you need to respond again. But, if you feel that you do, you can simply say “I’m afraid that won’t be possible given the reasons I outlined previously. You shut me out of planning the shower and grandma-to-be said that she would pay for the shower. I no longer considered myself a hostess of the shower and bought the mom the gift I could afford to give her. I will not be giving you any money. Perhaps you should go back to Grandma who said that she would pay for it.”

However, if you think this explanation will just open you up to further questioning, you can stick with “I’m afraid it won’t be possible.” and leave it at that.

You might also consider speaking with the mom-to-be. I have a feeling that SIL will be complaining about you to her, and you might be proactive about that. You could say, “Hey M2B, I was just wondering what happened with the shower finances. I heard from SIL that your mom ended up not covering everything? Unfortunately, SIL made it clear that she wanted to plan everything herself, so I stepped back from hosting and instead bought you that BabyBlingThing. I hope everything works out between them!”

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Nonnie Mowse October 1, 2013 at 10:04 am

If a mother to be is to be held responsible for the actions of others, for something that was held in her honor and supposed to be about the joy of an impending birth, then something has gone really wrong with society. I’m not sure about the proactive advice Elizabeth, I would rather wait to see if friendship with M2B seems to become distracted or distant before tarnishing what she thought might have been a wonderful event for herself. I have these circumstances within my own in-laws, and as much as I am not fond of them, I won’t bring up anything negative about something that was to be their moment – unless directly and sorely pressed for truth. Not trying to be any kind of martyr here, just strong feelings about what something’s supposed to be about.

As to paying after the fact, I would not. The agreement was set upon, and they should honor it. Them to keep expecting anything more starts to encroach on bullying, and I would keep it among them and not bother the M2B about it unless the friendship was actually threatened.

If I’m missing some aspect here though, I am at the ready to learn!

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Elizabeth October 1, 2013 at 10:22 am

It was the M2B’s mother who promised to be financially responsible for the event, and it was to her (grandmom-to-be) that I suggested the hostess return to. So I don’t think that anyone is suggesting that the M2B be held responsible for anything. (If I understood your post correctly, I may not have.) I think your advice about waiting before bringing it up to M2B is good. I just worry that the OP will be blamed and tarnished, and sometimes the most successful ‘take’ on a situation is the first one. But the OP will know, given all the players, whether she needs to do this.

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Nonnie Mowse October 2, 2013 at 8:42 am

Thanks Elizabeth. But I am confused then, about the last paragraph in your answer, which is the source of my response: “You might also consider speaking with the mom-to-be. I have a feeling that SIL will be complaining about you to her, and you might be proactive about that. You could say, “Hey M2B, I was just wondering what happened with the shower finances…” I do understand though in this day and age, having to gird oneself ahead of time. It’s unfortunate that things have become that way.

Also, if Lindsey sees this post again, you know more about the dynamics of your best friends’ family relationships. If this behavior on their part is something your friend has had to deal with before, then I would hope your friendship would withstand this ‘crinkle’. Just consider pregnancy hormones, and things may feel differently to her for a few months!

Elizabeth October 2, 2013 at 9:59 am

Oh, sorry. When you said “holding the mom responsible” I thought you meant for the cost. I think that the only person to go back to (for the SIL) is the Grandmom who promised to pay for the thing to begin with.

I didn’t see talking to mom-to-be as “holding her responsible.” I thought it was more like proactive PR. But you’re absolutely right that it depends on the personalities and relationships of all involved.

Lindsey October 1, 2013 at 11:48 am

Thank you so much the help! I have decided to leave the mother to be out it, as it was her special day, and she is not responsible for the actions of her family. From the advice given, I concur that I am indeed correct and should not be held responsible for this “after the fact payment”. I wanted to make sure that I was not missing some aspect that could result in upsetting the mother to be (and my best friend) if her family decides to approach her with the issue. However, sadly I afraid that there will now be ill feelings towards me from her family, which I felt part of. I am not sure how to rectify the situation and clear the air, but I suppose leaving it alone is my best option.

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Ness October 1, 2013 at 9:42 pm

I’m kind of with Elizabeth on this one – I think M2B needs to at least get a hint from OP that things went pear-shaped – especially if as Lindsey felt that she was “part of the family” and now that she may not be treated as such. M2B surely would pick up on that and wonder why (but I am sure that SIL would have given her some sort of a story). Maybe just wait and see if M2B refers to baby shower and just try to be very diplomatic “sorry things with your SIL and arrangements didn’t work out” and try and leave it at that.

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