Ask Kim – May 25

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Dear Kim,

As you know, graduation season in our area has just passed.  I received more graduation and grad party invitations than I can count.  Some from close family, the majority however were from people I work with or distant relatives.  I’m sure I only received these invitations because their parents thought I would be good for a gift.

I couldn’t be in two places at once, so that solved some of the problem.  Then it becomes how do you choose whose to attend?  I also don’t like the idea of being invited simply to be an ATM.  I know that next year, this will repeat itself and I want to be ready.  What’s your advice?



Dear Keith,

Perhaps you’re not giving yourself enough credit.  Your friends and family may truly enjoy your company and want to include you in their happy occasion.  I receive many invitations from people who “know” I will not attend their function.  Their motive isn’t a gift, they want me to feel included, know what’s going on in the family and give me an opportunity to go if I desire.  I guess I could surprise them someday and actually show up! Ha!

Seriously though, if that’s the way you feel – you’re only invited for the gift, then don’t go.  It’s really very simple.  If there’s an R.S.V.P. – call, email, or text your regrets and leave it at that.  You don’t need to make-up an excuse.  A simple “sorry, can’t make it” is good enough.

Now, for the next part of the equation.  I’m not sure when this became the trend, but there has been a perceptible shift in people throwing parties and expecting others to pay for them.  Either with an exorbitant gift or cash gift expectation.  Weddings have become notorious for making these tacky requests.  Some seem to have forgotten Rule #1, if you can’t afford a party, then don’t have one.  Rule #2, a gift, is a gift, is a gift.  For this purpose, the definition of gift is – a thing willingly given to someone else.   The high point here being “willingly”.  If you’re not doing is because you want to, then don’t do it!  There is no obligation.  Obligations are debts, not gifts.

I know graduation and wedding gifts are customary.  The purpose of gift giving on these occasions used to be to help young people setup households.  Perhaps give them something they didn’t have or couldn’t afford right now.  You, however, don’t need to be their cash cow.  Remember, wealthy people don’t need this kind of assistance, and unless the gift is extremely personal, many donate their gifts to the charities they support.  Sorry for the long answer.  Bottom line, don’t go where you don’t want to go and keep your money unless you truly desire to “gift” the recipient because you love and care about them.

Have a question?  Ask Kim!

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