Ask Amy

Thursday, August 6, 2009 at 12:00am

DEAR AMY: I had a very close friend for more than 20 years who gradually "removed" herself from our friendship.

I understand that people grow apart, and I do not resent her. However, now that I have moved on, so to speak, she has "friended" me on Facebook, and I don't even know that I want to accept this effort.

It has been more than a year since we have spoken, and before that my calls and e-mails went virtually unanswered, and I felt like a pestering suitor.

I asked her in an e-mail if I did something to offend her because, at the very least, I would like to apologize, but that went unanswered.

Several months later she sent me a text message wishing me a merry Christmas.

Other than that, I have not heard from her. We were very close at one time, but we never officially broke off our friendship.

I wonder if this is an olive branch or if I'm just being set up to be rejected again.

I don't want to sound like a whiny baby, nor do I want to make her out to be a coldhearted, selfish person.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

— Once Bitten in Atlanta

DEAR ONCE BITTEN: Being "friended" on Facebook isn't necessarily a gesture with any specific meaning.

On Facebook, the word "friend" is something of a misnomer — friends on Facebook are really contacts.

Your former friend may be "friends" with Celine Dion, Tiger Woods, her second-grade teacher and numerous other people in whom she has a passive interest.

You should accept her friend request without making any other effort.

You can update your Facebook page, your former friend can passively check it from time to time (along with all of your other "friends") and if she wants to contact you in a meaningful way to revive this friendship, she can give you a call. You don't need to initiate or respond to anything.

DEAR AMY: My brother and his fiancee had a wedding shower recently.

I have a "Y" chromosome, so I'm not completely sure, but I think there were some things about the shower that were inappropriate. They mailed the invitations themselves and had the return address of "Mr. and Mrs. John Doe" (they used his surname), and the wedding is a month away.

The meal for the shower was potluck, and guests were expected to bring a dish and a present. They didn't say they were registered anywhere but rather sent a "wish list" with the invitation. The first item on the list was "money."

Am I goofy here? Is this the way wedding showers are done now?

— Confused in Tennessee

DEAR CONFUSED: Couples aren't "supposed" to throw showers for themselves, though they frequently ignore this polite mandate.

Couples aren't supposed to refer to themselves by their married name if they aren't married.

Registry information or gift requests are not supposed to be included with invitations, and it is best not to ask for money if there's another, more subtle way to wring it out of people.

I think the potluck" idea is fine, though.

Shower etiquette is somewhat spongy. Times are changing, couples are changing and there is no one correct way to host weddings or the celebratory events surrounding them.

So yes — etiquette rules change, though "tacky" seems truly timeless.

DEAR AMY: What do you do about guests who attend a wedding and don't give a gift? The bride and groom think it's rude to ask about it, but it is possible the gift or envelope was misplaced or lost. In that case, the guests would want to know what happened.

Should the couple question the guests?

— Wondering

DEAR WONDERING: Some people don't give gifts at weddings. Sometimes they take more time to give their gift — and sometimes they never give a gift at all.

The couple could only politely inquire directly about missing gifts if there is a real suspicion that gifts were misplaced. The newlyweds should concentrate on (and thank people for) their abundant blessings and not focus on gifts they didn't receive.

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Filed under: Lifestyles

1 Comment on this post:

By: NewYorker1 on 8/6/09 at 7:53

When people invite me to their weddings, graduations, etc, I politely tell them up front that I don't go to weddings, graduations, or funerals. I'm sorry, but thank you for the invitation.