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Miss Manners by Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin

Recipient of Promised Gift Must Find an Excuse for a Visit

DEAR MISS MANNERS: A relative let me know that she had purchased a present for me and asked when I would be able to pick it up.

My schedule has not yet allowed me to go to her town at a time when she is at home, and it is now well past the gift-giving occasion.

Is it up to the gift receiver to come and collect, or for the giver to send/deliver it? I feel she is getting irritated at my seeming lack of enthusiasm by not making time in my schedule to come to her.

GENTLE READER: Although she does not know your relative, Miss Manners has no trouble believing that your unwillingness is taken as a sign of lack of interest. Nor does it surprise her that the would-be gift-giver has failed to notice her own lack of interest, as demonstrated by ordering something online (a guess) and then demanding the recipient travel to another town to take ownership.

Miss Manners has found that encouraging people to throw parties for themselves is both dangerous and unnecessary, and does not do so in this case. But you should propose some event, perhaps a dinner at your home, where the present can be received. If it is for an event in your own life, a birthday, for example, perhaps there is a birthday in the relative's part of the family that can be recognized at the same time.

(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, dearmissmanners@gmail.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics | Family & Parenting | Holidays & Celebrations