Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Don’t bring gifts to a ‘no gifts’ party

- Carolyn Hax

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: Most of my friends have specified “no gifts” on their invitation­s for their kids’ birthdays and I always abide by it because: (1) Why say it if you don’t mean it?; and (2) If we throw a party for my baby, I will say “no gifts” and 100% mean it.

Yet every time I go to a birthday party where this is specified, I’m one of the only people who hasn’t brought a gift for the kid and I feel terrible. What are we supposed to do? – No Gifts

Not bring gifts, as instructed.

And don’t feel terrible, either. You’re being tough on yourself just for not conforming, and that’s an impulse worth breathing deeply through till it passes.

You can help the cause here, too: When you have a party for your child, specify that you’d prefer not to receive gifts but will be collecting X for Y charity, if anyone would like to contribute. That way the can’t-arrive-empty-handed crowd will have an outlet, people with too much stuff won’t be weighed down by more, and people in need will get a break.

Dear Carolyn: Just a few thoughts about the wife in Monday’s column who loved her exes more than she loves her husband. I think people confuse feelings that meet their fairy-tale expectatio­ns as “in love.” I think of those as lust. The men she wrote about only gave her an illusion that she “loved” them, because it fit the fairy tale she wanted.

I truly believe that a successful relationsh­ip, and real love, is about being on the same page and having open communicat­ion between you and your partner.

People need to let go of the fantasy they built in their heads. Although it’s nice and gives you good feelings, it motivates you to fit pieces of someone into the fantasy while ignoring other pieces of them that don’t fit – until you can’t ignore them anymore. It’s best to look at someone whole from the beginning. – Anonymous

Open communicat­ion, yes, thank you – plus acceptance of each other’s truths and frailties. It’s when you can share your worst and still feel loved, by someone you find attractive, and it’s mutual.

Re: Being loved: The French have a saying that someone is always kissing and the other being kissed. Whether my experience is typical, I can’t say, but very few of any relationsh­ips I’ve had or witnessed were really symmetrica­l. Such is real life, I think. – Realist

The French also eat cheese and bread and pastries and never get fat, drink wine copiously to no ill effect, and raise their bebes sooo much better than Americans do that it’s a blessing they have their natural sense of style to take comfort in or else they’d be horrified by having to share a globe with us. Or so the U.S. bestseller lists tell us with unremittin­g glee.

I think that line is depressing.

Email Carolyn at, follow her on Facebook at or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at www.washington­

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States