DEAR NATALIE: My youngest son married recently, and as you know, weddings are truly expensive these days. Nonetheless, we wanted to provide a special day and had a lovely wedding. We painstakingly went over the guest list many, many times to assure that we kept to our budget and yet did not leave out anyone near and dear to our hearts that we wanted to share the day with.
Imagine our shock when we found several guests did not bring a gift. We reached out, thinking that perhaps a number of gifts had been lost or misplaced. Several of his “friends” did not respond, and so we knew the lack of a gift was intentional. Others stated that they had forgotten or still needed to send the gift.
Do you think these guests only sent a gift after they were “called on” their faux pas so to speak?
I take it quite personally that one would show up and partake of a free bar and fabulous meal without even a courtesy acknowledgement. Because we have now experienced hosting a wedding, we have heard where it is not uncommon for guests to show up and party all night and never bring a gift. I am still in shock at the crassness of people these days. And now for the most concerning question: My oldest son is getting married later this year, and I am on the fence if we should even invite someone who thinks so little of us to the wedding. I don’t want to offend anyone, but I do think it is beyond comprehension for someone to show up empty-handed. What do you think we should do? — WEDDING FAUX PAS
DEAR WEDDING FAUX PAS: Not only should guests bring gifts to the wedding, but they also should bring a card with a monetary gift. I would never show up to a wedding as an invited guest without a gift and card in hand. This is a special moment, one of the few sacred traditions left in our society that still means something to so many people, and it should be treated with respect.
I have one question for you, though. Did you put the gift registry on the wedding invite? That is a good way to ensure that people know where you are registered so they can get the appropriate gift for the bride and groom. Having assumed you did so, I can’t imagine why anyone would show up without a present. (Even if it was coming late, write that inside your card to the couple so they know a package is on its way.) Weddings are very expensive, and while you chose to throw your son a beautiful party, there is a social exchange that happens. I do believe that your son’s “friends” only sent gifts after it was brought to their attention to do so, which is sad in and of itself. This is the biggest moment of their lives and the idea that someone would RSVP, drink, eat and dance all night and leave without showing any kind of love for the bride and groom is rude, ignorant and warrants being put on the “not invited” list for the next big event. And if they ask why, explain to them how social mores are a thing, or send them a copy of Emily Post’s “Etiquette.”
DEAR NATALIE: I want to know why is it when guys are in a group (and they start hitting on me and my girlfriends) they decide to puff up their chests and verbally berate one another? Do they think that by degrading their friends this will somehow turn us on? This happened (again) recently at an event I attended, where two guys were talking with me and the one kept putting the other one down. I felt bad for the other one and ended up talking to him instead of the guy who “liked” me, which then made him get upset. So, he started berating me. Any thoughts as to why guys act like this? (I’m 24 and these guys were 28 and 32. The younger one was doing the berating). — CONFUSED SINGLE GIRL
DEAR CONFUSED SINGLE GIRL: Call it posturing or call it “peacocking.” I’ve seen this and experienced it myself in the dating scene. Some guys seem to think to get a girl’s attention they have to be cocky, rude or arrogant. Maybe it works some of the time, but you have to ask yourself that if he is acting like this in front of people, what is he like behind closed doors? I am not surprised that the younger guy was the one doing the berating. I often feel that some young men haven’t really been hit in the teeth with life too many times yet, and they are riding high on their arrogance balloon. But, once it pops, suddenly they are a little more humble, a little nicer and a little less awful to be around. I’m sorry that he berated you. If anything, it showed you immediately who he was and gave you an easy reason why you wouldn’t want anything to do with him. I judge people that I meet in social situations in two different ways: How do they treat the waiter, and how do they treat their friends? Are they supportive and kind? Friendly and willing to have an exchange of ideas? Or, in this case, did he think that the quickest way to your heart (or other places) was via a cocky attitude? Some guys act like this when they are insecure and afraid of rejection. And if he’s that easily frazzled, what will he be like when life actually takes him to task?
Natalie’s Networking Tip of the Week: If you are at an event to network, don’t eat the appetizers while you are mingling. It’s hard to have a conversation when someone has a face full of sliders or spinach stuck in their teeth. Finish your networking first, then chow down.
Natalie Bencivenga is the Post-Gazette’s Seen and society editor. She has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh. Need advice? Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Natalie on Twitter @NBSeen and on Instagram @NatalieBenci.
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