Miss Manners: My parents’ neighbors keep sending baby gifts – Lifotravel



Dear Miss Manners: My parents’ neighbors sent my husband and me a gift for the birth of our first child. I’ve never met them, so this was unexpected, but we sent a prompt thank-you note and a picture of our baby wearing the item they’d given us.

A month later, the neighbors sent our baby a Halloween present, followed by a Thanksgiving present, a Christmas gift and multiple “just-because” gifts. In total, we’ve received nearly 20 baby gifts from these people whom, again, we have never met.

It has gone from sweet to baffling to downright annoying, and I find myself feeling resentful every time I have to find 10 minutes to write a thank-you note for another gift I don’t need and didn’t ask for. I have tried various iterations of, “This is too much, please stop,” but nothing has worked.

Do you have any suggestions for more vehement wording? And if they do not stop, must I keep sending thank-you notes?

That is the problem with writing good thank-you letters: They prompt recipients to be even more generous in return.

You could stop thanking them and see if the presents cease, but then you would have to live with the shame — and probably continued correspondence about whether the gifts were received. Miss Manners is therefore afraid that you are doomed to a life of receiving presents. She hopes that this is an appropriately cautionary tale to ungrateful wedding couples and birthday celebrants everywhere.

Dear Miss Manners: My husband and I hosted an engagement party for his brother and fiancee at their request. We had a catered dinner for over 80 guests, and hired a DJ to play music during dinner and for dancing afterward.

As a thank-you for hosting, we received from the bride and groom a gift certificate to a very nice restaurant. My husband and I used the gift certificate and had a lovely evening.

When we later told my husband’s brother and his fiancee that we had enjoyed the restaurant, they became enraged and said we were rude to have gone to the restaurant by ourselves and not included them, and if we had any class or manners we would have known this. They are now not speaking to us and bad-mouthing us to others.

I did not know that this was expected. I have given restaurant gift certificates in the past and have never been included in the outing, nor expected to be. Were we wrong here?

This couple coerced you into throwing them an expensive party — and then chastised you for not including them in their thank-you present?!

If it were not for the bad-mouthing, Miss Manners would count you lucky that they no longer speak to you. In fact, even with it, you may have come out ahead. Just not, it seems, financially so.

Dear Miss Manners: My dinner guest goes around opening windows in the living and dining rooms almost immediately upon entering. I’m too flabbergasted to react. I would appreciate a good way to respond.

“Sorry, do you find it warm in here? Let me put on the air conditioning, or perhaps we can sit outside for a bit before dinner.” And then Miss Manners suggests you go around closing those windows just as quickly as your dinner guest opened them.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

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