DEAR NATALIE: On the subject of wedding thank-you's, how do you deal with guests not even giving a gift at all? Our daughter just got married, and we hosted a lovely reception. Numerous relatives (and their plus-ones) traveled in from out of town. They even stayed at our home for a long weekend of celebration. When the bride and groom opened their gifts, only two couples out of the group of 12 gave a gift. Not a thing from the others, not even a card! This summer, they came to this new bride's shower and gave gifts.
In the past, this group of cousins has come to other weddings, graduation parties, etc., without gifts. One family member asked after one of the weddings (in case the gift had gotten lost or stolen), and they showed up the next day with a gift. They are not destitute, nor are they social misfits. Should we bring it up or just write them off for the next family event? -- FAMILY MATTERS
DEAR FAMILY MATTERS: I have to say, I love the "Oh, did your gift get stolen?" and then poof! Magically a gift arrives.
A lot of this is cultural, I believe. Some families teach their children to take gifts when going to someone's home, for a big celebration and to always write a thank-you note, etc. Some families, on the other hand, don't make these niceties a part of their daily lives.
So, what can you really do? It seems petty to me to not invite people just because they don't bring a gift. If you really like them, you may have to look beyond this. On the other hand, if you do decide to write them off and not invite them to family events and they call you asking why -- well, you may have to have a very awkward conversation. Practice it with someone, and if it feels petty when you say it out loud, just invite them. Better to have everyone together than exclude a few because they have poor manners. (Besides, you can always feel superior inside, which is a fun game relatives love to do with one another.)
Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: Speak your truth. If you want something, whether it is a promotion, a new job or new opportunities, they come to those who openly talk about them. The first step to anything is putting out feelers to your network. You've been building relationships. Now tap into them!
Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)