Q: I got married three weeks ago. It was my second and my husband’s first marriage. The venue was about 110 miles away from the area where we and most of our friends and family live, so many guests stayed in the hotel affiliated with the venue. We went all out! Several guests have said it was the best wedding they’d ever attended. Five hours of open bar, outstanding food, and gorgeous setting! We went through all our cards and gifts and noticed there was one missing—a woman I’ve considered a very close friend for twenty years. She came to the wedding alone and, believe you me, took full advantage of the open bar. I was perplexed and surprised because it seemed out of character for her not to give a gift. I texted her and (white lie) told her that hubby and I were concerned that we may have been missing some cards then casually asked, “Did you put a card in the box?” To which she simply replied, “No.” I understand she doesn’t have a lot of money to spend, I get that, but NOTHING? Not a card with a lovely sentiment or even a modest gift?
Do you have any words of wisdom? I realize I need to “let it go,” but I’ve been ruminating!
—Vexed In Upstate New York
A: Dear VIUNY,
Yes, I have words. Oh man, do I have words.
Stop being friends with her.
Based on your letter, I don’t know much about this person, but I’ll guess that she doesn’t need a friend who considers a wedding invitation to be a demand for a tissue paper–wrapped box. I’ll guess she doesn’t need a friend who describes a (admittedly, probably very lovely) wedding as though it demands equally fabulous gifts. I’m guessing she doesn’t need a friend of twenty years who remarks on how much she had to drink to strangers on the Internet, as if to imply that she should pony up for the privilege of enjoying the hospitality (the shade of it all).
On some level, you had to expect that I’d say this to you. Right? No one owes you a gift. No one owes you a more complete explanation than, “No,” in response to a text asking if they brought one (the audacity, honestly).
I get that not receiving a wedding present can be hurtful. I honestly can. But the way you couch this question is making it really difficult for me to muster the requisite compassion for your plight. Just consider giving your friend some slack here. There could be any number of factors coming into play. Maybe she forgot the card at the hotel, maybe she planned to get something but ran out of time, maybe she’s following the old etiquette standard that she has a full year to give you something, or maybe (maybe!) she just sucks at wedding gifts, but is otherwise a terrific person.
And then reconsider why you feel a friend should bring you a gift in the first place. Because you had the means and desire to throw an amazing, lavish wedding? Because she enjoyed that wedding to the full allowable extent? Or because you’re a truly great, gracious, nonjudgmental friend?