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Advice | Miss Manners: My niece is having her third baby – and third baby shower


Dear Ms. Manners,: I always believed that your first baby shower should also be your one and only one. But I’ve now been invited to a third baby shower for my niece, whose eldest child is still very young.

I could understand if there was some space between the kids, because new equipment would be needed, or if this third baby was a different gender. But they’re all boys, and her oldest is only 2. This feels like a gift.

What do you think? Should I buy another gift and take a shower? Or is it okay to say hello knowing I’ll still show up with a present when the baby is born?

Showers are gift grabbers. That is their only purpose. But Ms. Manners agrees that second and third are excessive.

If you do go, unfortunately a present is expected. If you don’t want to be pressured into shopping from a register, witnessing the endless opening of presents and playing inappropriate parlor games, it’s fine to show up with a present after the baby arrives.

Either way, it looks like these parents are going to get their loot.

Dear Ms. Manners,: My husband and I enjoy the company of another couple we have known for years. I’ve had them for dinner many times. I only eat plant-based (vegan) foods; however, I make both vegan and meat dishes for everyone else. I am not asking them to bring anything, they are our guests.

A few years ago, we invited them to dinner at a restaurant, which we planned to pay for. A day before the scheduled dinner, they called and wanted to invite us to their home instead of going out for dinner. I asked if I could bring anything, and their answer was no.

When dinner was served at their home, it was stew with several kinds of meat and no vegetables. Even the salad had bacon in it. The woman said, “I don’t think you eat meat, but I hope you can eat this.”

Miss Manners, they’ve known for years that I don’t eat animal products. I went through the meal as best I could without complaining. We haven’t gotten together with them since the pandemic.

What do you think of hosts who don’t offer meatless dishes to an old friend? As a vegan I have always made dishes with meat for my guests.

That your friends are thoughtless, inconsiderate, or maybe just forgetful. The latter seems unlikely after all these years, but if you can believe that’s all, the friendship can be saved – if you think it’s worth it.

Miss Manners suggests that next time you could politely say in advance, ‘Oh, I don’t remember if I told you, but I’m afraid I don’t eat any meat. However, I am happy to bring something if it is difficult to separate it for your other guests.” And when she serves you bacon salad again, you know the ruse is over.

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

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