DEAR MISS MANNERS: Over the years, I have taken it upon myself to organize a joint gift for my group of friends’ wedding anniversaries. We live all over the country, so it’s a way for us to stay connected for the big moments. I took this on willingly, and enjoy finding gifts I think will be enjoyed.
This wouldn’t be a problem, except I’ve found that getting everyone to participate in picking the gifts and paying for them has become like pulling teeth. This makes me want to stop doing the group gift, since it is really that in name only.
My 10th wedding anniversary is coming up this year. I’m hoping they forget about it and don’t get me a gift, so I can stop organizing guilt-free. If they do forget, do I need to explain that I won’t be doing it anymore, or just let it fall to the wayside unspoken? If they remember, must I continue, or is there a way to bow out gracefully then, as well?
GENTLE READER: Not seeing the purpose of guilt without any accompanying crime (and not seeing any crime or contemplated crime in your description), Miss Manners looks at the problem somewhat differently.
Your upcoming anniversary is not a solution, but a problem. Quitting after they forget your anniversary would be a disaster: Instead of looking as if you did not care, it would look like you cared so much that you are walking away not just from the gifts, but from the friendships. And quitting after they remember might look like, having gotten yours, you are done.
You will therefore have to struggle on for a little while longer. Some time after your anniversary, you can tell everyone that, having been the organizer for years, you hope someone else will now take over.