(Closed) Advice on wedding/shower attendence and/or gift in dysfunctional family?

posted 5 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: What to do?

    Go to wedding, act as if nothing wrong, give gift on par with those given to sisters in past

    Send regrets to both events, but give gift on par with those given to sisters in past

    Send regrets to both events, and give a cursory gift along with a polite note

    Send regrets to both events, and skip the gift for the neice who severed ties

  • Post # 2
    200 posts
    Helper bee

    You said she defriended you on Facebook – is that all that made you think you were estranged? I suppose I’m confused. I don’t feel estranged from family I haven’t spoken to in a year or more, we just lead busy lives and don’t have time to chat. But I don’t have many family members on social media, I typically add only friends. And I also unfriend anyone who hasn’t talked to me in a while. There’s just no point in bothering them with my life if they don’t want to know about it, and that’s how I’d interpret silence.

    I would talk to your sister and find out if it was intentional. If it wasn’t, go and enjoy yourself after the misunderstanding has been cleared up.

    Post # 4
    1640 posts
    Bumble bee

    It kinda sounds like you’re taking your issues with your sister out on your niece.  Not to say your niece is being a dream to you or anything, but you guys don’t really have to do all that to be loving and have a fine aunt-niece relationship. 


    Post # 5
    200 posts
    Helper bee

    Ahhhh, I’m sorry OP! That sounds much more serious than it sounded in the original post.

    Personally, I’d go the gift and note route. I think that the niece is probably influenced by what her mom says, and you are correct that not sending a gift would make it worse. It’s difficult to be the bigger person. But you can and should do it in the interest of keeping the peace. Attending might be painful for you and awkward for them, and you’ll probably walk away feeling like they didn’t spend much time with you because they’ll be busy. Perhaps the best thing would be to say you can’t make it, but send a note saying you’d like to go out to eat or have them over for dinner to celebrate instead…and follow up with an invitation after the shower or wedding, when things calm down for them. I hope things work out for you! It sounds like a mess.

    Post # 6
    1707 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2015

    If you’ve given the niece’s siblings gifts, you should do something of similar value. 

    The invitation may be an attempt at building a bridge. Maybe go to the shower and if it goes well and you feel welcomed, also attend the wedding but if you aren’t treated warmly at the shower, send your regrets for the wedding?

    Post # 7
    9520 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper

    It sounds like you really do not want to go. Personally, give them a call to express your concerns and try to mend the bridge. If it is not worth it then do not go and do not give your generous gift. If you feel like it is worth it then skip the shower, go to the wedding and give a smaller gift

    Post # 9
    2597 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: October 2010

    So…I have to just say this and hope I don’t offend you: what is the age difference between you and your niece? Because in my experience, younger people (and not even THAT much younger–like as little as 5 years!) have a very different relationship to FB and social media than people who are older. My younger cousins in their early twenties would feel it’s nothing personal to “streamline” their FB pages and purge people that they don’t have a lot of contact with on FB, whereas I could see my older aunts, uncles, and parents feel that the same act is a true social snub. And in general, the same age difference holds true when it comes to expectations of social contact–sometimes younger people feel like it’s not a big deal to go for long periods of time without talking to family members (and this is very true if they’re somewhere around college age and sort of wrapped up in getting to set their wings and live their own lives). Then again, I don’t know what kind of relationship you had with your niece to begin with and whether this is truly a freeze-out for you.

    I agree with most responses above–I think that at the very least, you should send her a gift and a card, even if you end up not attending, because she’s family. I would lean towards attending for the same reason in that I don’t think a wedding is the best event to use to express your social discontent with a family member–if you don’t feel welcomed, then you can gracefully wish her well in her marriage and concentrate on other more important people in your life. But I put that bit above just to give you a little different perspective, in case it helps. 

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