My daughter is engaged. No progress has been made on setting a date or actually planning a wedding (all of which is fine with me – no need to rush). However, I had coffee with a friend this morning and she was talking about her daughter’s showers and other wedding-related parties that are coming up in the next few months and it reminds me how complicated getting married has become. I just received an invitation to her daughter’s shower yesterday, which I already knew I would not be able to attend, even if I were just floating around the pool all afternoon.
Anyway, I am quite well known for my aversion to such things and my friend called me on it, saying it reflects poorly on our long and close friendship. She said it kindly, but it stung all the same. I tried to chose my words carefully and explain that we are each responsible for how we spend our time, and playing goofy games with other adult women tends to bore me as well as make me self-conscious and anxious, no reflection upon her or anyone else intended. Her daughter knows full well that I love her and her fiance to pieces, and I always send a nice gift. I understand and am hugely flattered that my absence might be noted and missed, but I would much rather invite their whole family over for a bbq and enjoy/celebrate the upcoming nuptials that way.
My friend was irritated with my response, hurt by my attitude, and told me that I should “take one for the team” and just suck it up and deal for the sake of our long friendship. I know she does not enjoy the groom’s family very much, and his mother, aunts, and female cousins will all be present. That said, this is her third child to marry, and the third go-round of showers, parties, and actual wedding to attend. Her daughters-in-law and other friends will be present to help buffer and support her. I just feel a bit pressured to spend an uncomfortable few hours doing silly things and not getting enough opportunity to socialize with people I do not see often enough.
Anyway, I am relatively sure none of you are ettiquette experts, but if you are and I am being rude, over-reactive, and unreasonable in my desire to not attend please feel free to weigh-in and tell me. My dear friend – who despite this rather unflattering post is very much a dear friend – asked me how I would feel if she and her family “boycotted” C’s shower. I am nearly always honest in my responses to direct questions and this was no exception. In this case I said (1) I would not see it as a “boycott” so much as they had other things to do, (2) I cannot imagine C wanting anything resembling a traditional shower … maybe a cake occasion event with close female friends to celebrate, and (3) I/we do not keep score on our social calendars.
Thinking about it now, I am not precisely sure what happened, how a friendly coffee break went so wrong. I do not feel unreasonable in how I feel about showers or my choice to not attend. This is not our first rodeo with big events in our kids’ lives and I am not exhibiting new or unusual behaviors.
It will work out, because it always does. But it’s upsetting to have unintentionally hurt my friend’s feelings by simply being straightfoward and honest.