Do you have issues with your no-longer-best girlfriend? Is your coworker driving you crazy? Megan Carpentier is here to give you the life advice that you don’t want to hear, told in the way you absolutely need to hear it.
Is there anything I can do about a friend who showed up for my wedding and didn’t even bring (let alone send!) a card? I had a really expensive wedding because I wanted my friends around to celebrate our marriage; but a close friend who I know can afford it didn’t even drop a card, let alone give us a gift. Can I say something? Drop hints to mutual friends? I’m really annoyed that she came and ate our food, drank our booze, kissed our cheeks and couldn’t be bothered to pick up a card at Walgreens and sign it on the way to the church.
In a word: no. Weddings, while they are an implicit quid pro quo, are not an explicit one. Very few brides end up with a one-to-one ratio of guests to gifts, and, having told people that you were inviting them to share in your joy sort of doesn’t obligate them to give you more with a gift.
The real question is why you are upset about it: is it the monetary aspect of it, in which case you ought to let it go; or the assumption that not giving you a gift is a reflection of your friendship? Because the only way into this particular conversation is the question of your friendship. While you say you “know” your friend could afford a gift, you don’t necessarily really know it: she could be tight for money right now and holding off until her financial situation improves; she could be anticipating a layoff and trying to be good about her spending until she knows a job is on the horizon; or she just could be broker than you really know. And, if she’s a close friend, you have an opening to inquire if everything is okay in her life, rather than interrogating her about why she didn’t give you a gift.
And then there is, of course, the possibility that your wedding (and the preparations for it) took a toll on your friendship. You wouldn’t be the first person to get so caught up in planning for a wedding that your friends felt frozen out, ignored or even actively shit upon by you — which might well be a reason someone would show up after RSVPing but not be happy about giving a gift (and would have restricted themselves to a cheek kiss). If you feel other coolness on her part and it’s something you regret and don’t want, then you can start a conversation by asking her whether she’s deliberately creating the distance you feel and asking her how to fix it.
Finally, etiquette supposedly reflects that guests have up to a year to give a gift. So if it hasn’t been a year, she’s still in the clear.
My roommate has terrible taste in television — like, we get along otherwise, but there’s only so many episodes of reality dating shows, Bridezillas and talent competitions that anyone can be expected to stomach. But every night when I get home from work, she’s already on the sofa with her take-out watching something, and doesn’t get the hint that I want to watch something else. What can I do?
Talk to her — but don’t just insult her taste in television. Even if you’re a dedicated viewer of Masterpiece Theatre and think everything else is just crap, telling your roommate that her plebian taste in television isn’t your cup of tea isn’t going to get her to like what you like — and hinting that you hate her shows isn’t going to convince her to change the channel.
Living with a roommate is about sharing and, if you get Bridezillas, you’re probably sharing the cable bill, too. Sit her down and explain that you feel like you pay half the bill but never get to watch what you want to watch — especially since, for most shows, it’s rerun season anyway. Ask if there’s some way you can switch off by the hour during prime-time, or switch off nights if you can’t switch off hours. It’s probably only a few dollars a month each more than you currently pay to get a DVR, so if your schedule-by-night doesn’t work out for the shows you want, you can always DVR the shows each of you wants to watch and watch them (sans commercials) on “your” night with the television. There’s a lot of ways to be fair about access, if you just talk about it directly and, if it you refrain from hating on her taste in TV, it’ll be a far easier conversation to have.
And, if she refuses and it’s a communal television, it’s either time for her to invest in her own for her bedroom (with the cable box that goes with it) or for you to tell her that, if paying half the bill doesn’t buy you access to the cable for half the time, you’re not sure why you are paying for it at all, and go from there.
If you have a problem with a friend, relative, coworker, or other person in your life, email Megan at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a problem with your boyfriend, you should probably just try talking to him.