Ask Natalie

DEAR NATALIE: What is the protocol for wedding “thank you notes” for the parents? At my son’s wedding reception, speaking for himself and his bride, he publicly thanked her parents. We were never thanked for anything. Almost a year later this still hurts. What are your thoughts? --FEELING SLIGHTED

DEAR FEELING SLIGHTED: I would be feeling slighted, too, if my son didn’t thank me at the wedding. Regardless of whether or not her family was the one footing the bill, he could have at least given his own parents a shout-out for being supportive of him through the years. In any case, you should have received a hand-written note of thanks from your son. Considering it has been a year, a note is long overdue. If this is really festering, clear the air. Be honest with your son. You could say something like, “Did our thank-you note get lost in the mail? We never received one and it’s really been bothering me. I raised you to be more considerate than that.” Or you can be less confrontational and say something along the lines of: “I have been hoping that you would have sent us a thank-you note by now from the wedding. Did you accidentally forget about us?” See what he says. Either way, he will probably be embarrassed and even defensive, but it’s better to put it all out there. He needs to know that this behavior hurt you. Give him the opportunity to make amends. Here’s hoping he will rise to the occasion and recognize his thoughtlessness.

DEAR NATALIE: I’ve been dating a guy seriously for about a year. He doesn’t tell me how he feels, and I fear that we won’t be able to have a long-term future because he won’t open up to me. How do I bring up this conversation without sounding too upset?

-- SILENCE ISN’T GOLDEN

DEAR SILENCE ISN’T GOLDEN: My Grandma always says that you should weather someone for all four seasons before you make a decision about him or her. It’s always been good advice. And since it has been almost a year and he still hasn’t opened up, it’s probably one of two things happening on his end: 1. He’s just not that into you. In which case, cut your losses and end it. Who wants to be with someone that you have to beg for their affection and attention? No, thank you. 2. He is into you, but there are internal issues that he deals with that makes it hard for him to open up. In which case, you can learn to work through that together or encourage him to go to therapy to see if he can grow to share his feelings. In either situation, you need to know what you are dealing with so that you can make a decision that is best for the relationship. If you are prepared to walk away, open up about your feelings. Approach it directly but gently. You can say something like: “You know, we’ve been together almost a year. I really care about you and am curious as to where you think this is going. I don’t get a lot from you, emotionally, and this is something I need from a partner if we are going to have a real future together. If you think we can go the distance, I need more affection and emotional attention. Is that something that you think you can work on?” If the answer is ‘yes,’ then great. Give him a few months to show you how he can change. If he still doesn’t improve then it may be time to cut him loose. But if the answer is ‘No, this is who I am take it or leave it,’ then you need to decide what your boundaries and deal-breakers really are. Everyone is different. Better to know now instead of spending a lifetime wondering how he really feels.

Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: Want to grow your following on social media? Engaging with others on platforms like Instagram and Facebook is a good place to start. Why would anyone want to follow you if you don’t encourage conversation and community? We reap what we sow. Follow, engage, repeat. See what happens.

Please send your questions to Natalie Bencivenga to her email, nbencivenga@post-gazette.com; or through postal mail to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Dr., Pittsburgh, PA 15212. Follow her on Twitter at @NBSeen and on Instagram @NatalieBenci

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)

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