Conflicted friend’s news sets a trap
Dear Miss Manners: My best friend recently texted me that she was going to buy a pregnancy test. I saw her later that evening, where she told me, “I’m not very excited, but I’m pregnant.”
Since she did not tell me this even with a smile, I didn’t know how she wanted me to react. I told her she should start preparing for the baby and tell her husband, who would be excited.
A few days later, she sent me a message saying that I had said insensitive things and hurt her feelings because I wasn’t excited about her being pregnant. I apologized and told her that was not my intention, but also explained that I wasn’t sure I was supposed to be excited. Is there a way I could have known that she expected me to be excited about her news?
Gentle Reader: This was a trap. Your conflicted friend wanted you to have the feelings that she did not yet have the presence of mind to muster.
Dear Miss Manners: I used to be close with a girlfriend of mine. We did a lot of things together. She ended up getting a job that takes up a lot of her time, so we grew apart. We kept in touch now and then on social media. She got a boyfriend somewhere in that time and never told me. All I saw was a text that said, “I got engaged.”
I didn’t know she was dating, let alone getting married. She invited me to the wedding, but if I haven’t seen her in over two years, I probably won’t see her ever again. I want to send a card. I don’t want to be cheap, but I don’t want to give money. Is giving a card without money mean?
Gentle Reader: Miss Manners will never tire of asserting that money is not a polite wedding present — and presents are not required if you do not attend the wedding.
But she is further baffled by your anger at your friend’s attempt to acknowledge your past relationship by inviting you to her wedding — interpreting it instead as extortion. She hopes that at the very least, your response will include your best wishes, acknowledgment of your past closeness and regrets for not being able to attend.