Awkward Baby Shower - Did I Handle It Correctly?

Karen10125February 23, 2013

We've all experienced strange party situations, but yesterday was the strangest for me. I was invited to a baby shower for someone i hadn't seen in years and really wasn't that close to, but I accepted because she had been through a lot in life. So it was supposed to start at 2pm, I got there at 2:15. No one was there except who I think was the host, her husband/boyfriend, a couple kids and one other woman. A little girl greeted me at the door, I went into the house and none of the adults in the kitchen came out to say hello, offer a drink, a chair, nothing. I stood there for a while, then took a seat with my coat on and waited and waited. Finally a guy came out of the kitchen and introduced himself, then walked away. I walked into the kitchen at one point, they looked at me strangely, and then I walked back into the living room. I was starting to wonder if I was in the right house. Another guest finally showed up, i introduced myself and then we both sat there uncomfortably. When one of the hosts walked thru the room at one point, we asked where the guest of honor was and they shrugged their shoulders and said "I guess she's on her way". There was a lot of whispering going on in the other room also. Finally at 3pm, I just left. I didn't think it was necessary to excuse myself based on the rudeness of the hosts. I later learned the mother-to-be showed up 2 hours late. I don't know if anyone else ever came. And then I was asked why I didn't wait around and was told that I was rude by not saying good-bye! What would you have done? It was the most awkward situation I've ever experienced.

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Fori is not pleased

Weird. I hope you "forgot" to leave your gift!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 10:24PM
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I would have introduced myself and asked if I had the correct address and time for the baby shower. If they didn't introduce themselves, I would have asked them how they were related to the mother-to-be and which of them was hosting the party. I would have never have just sat down in a separate room and remained silent. :O)

It sounds to me like the time of the party was changed or marked incorrectly somehow on your invitation (and that of the other lone guest).

Some people don't really know the etiquette of these types of parties. My parents always entertained so I'm usually not too uncomfortable no matter what awkward social situation I encounter. lol!

It would have been appropriate for you to explain that you were leaving because there didn't actually seem to be a bridal shower happening. And you should have thanked them for an enjoyable afternoon. You will always remember the experience and have that story to tell. :)

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 9:59AM
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fori, I did leave my gift because I know the mother-to-be needs it, but I understand what you're saying. Hopefully they actually gave it to her! Thanks for the advice party_music50. I guess I should have pushed the issue a little more. I did walk in the kitchen and asked when she was arriving and was given a rude look and a shrug of the shoulders, which made me not want to pursue a conversation. I guess I go by how I treat guests when I have a party. I just had a bridal shower for my daughter and a baby shower for a friend. I greet people at the door and if I got too busy I made sure I had someone else doing that. I offer people drinks immediately, take their coat from them, explain to them where the food and drinks are, tell them to make themselves at home, etc. But not everyone's the same, I realize that. I did find out that the party time did not change. The guest of honor showed up 90 minutes late, and only 2 other guests showed up later after that. Kind of sad, and that's why I hung around for an hour, I wanted to be supportive. I just never experienced a rude hostess like that. And what's even worse is that the mom-to-be hasn't even responded to my email that basically said, sorry i didn't get to see you, i wasn't sure what the deal was, no one seemed to know if/when you were coming, I hope you and baby are ok and I hope you like the gifts. She hasn't replied. I guess it's one of those lessons learned, I did try to do the right thing. I could have ignored the invite.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 8:24AM
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Well, this is way beyond rude to outright weird.

But I do agree with party_music50. That's what I would have done in that situation: introduce myself, join the group in the kitchen, and then say goodbye and thank you (!!) when finally giving up and leaving ("because unfortunately I can't stay any later. Please give my best to [mom].")

I also agree, though, that this situation is so strange that your behavior is hardly the issue!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 2:42PM
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I'm surprised you stayed 45 minutes. I wouldn't have made it that long.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 11:25AM
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Wow, just curious, was there any decorating done? Chairs around LR, cake or drinks sitting out in kitchen or were people in kitchen just hanging out & no preparations made? You did better than I would have. If they were drinking or doing drugs in kitchen, I would have been out of there. If they were just standing around with no cake, plates, cups or glasses & silverware out, they apparently had no idea how to give a party.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 6:56PM
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There were a few baby shower things hung up, which would give me an impression that they were trying to have a shower. They were putting some snacks/drinks together in the kitchen, but when i walked in, they didn't offer anything. I think the hostess was just clueless, but also a bit rude. Ok, very rude actually. She's in her mid 30's, not early 20's so I would expect better. Since I posted this I got an apology email from the new mom. She felt really bad and seemed to know what occurred with the guests before she showed up. I don't know why she was so late and I didn't ask because I guess all that matters now is that she had a healthy baby and she loves my gift! Thanks ladies for all your thoughts.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 3:38PM
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Very, very strange. I wouldn't have thanked them for an enjoyable afternoon, as one person suggested, because what was enjoyable about it?

I applaud you for staying as you did. And leaving a gift, following up afterwards, well, I don't know how I would have done differently. It certainly sounds like there were other things going on that you weren't a party to.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 7:05PM
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Well Miss Manners I am not, but I was raised with the concept that it is the HOSTS duty to make guests feel welcome. When you get the vibe of the hosts staying in one group, not taking your coat etc. I would have done the same thing. Certainly not thank them for a nice time. I might have taken my gift and made sure the mother to be got it at a later time, and said something like wanted to make sure you got it.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 9:59AM
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Glad she had a healthy baby! . Some folks never get any training from their parents on how to give a party or even small get- together perhaps because parents never could afford anything or worked 2 jobs as single parent & no energy to do much of anything. It's different world these days. Even at places you would expect folks to know they sometimes don't. I went to large potluck with about 100 people there & people were putting salads(cold items) in among the hot dishes, desserts & breads, I suggested that it might be easier to have hot items grouped together, then breads then cold items &then desserts on another table & the beverages on yet another-in case of spills & ease of getting them. Everybody thought it was a great idea & I just thought it was common sense! Of course after that I was often asked to organize that type thing. Usually it is older aunts or relatives that have showers for the younger relatives so these people tried & probably will do better next time. Always a 1st time around. I know I've asked if invitations had been sent out for a shower & received a very funny look so I grinned & said "more people come when they know when & where it will be" Girl needed a little help, I told her who had cute invites & cheaper than most of places too & suggested couple of games & suggested she use tablecloth over card table for the gifts so would make a nice pic. That would spare her embarrassment day of shower as looked like she hadn't thought of "gift table". Takes practice to get it perfect!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 6:50PM
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Just thought I'd post a follow-up. I'm so glad I went to this "shower" and left a gift. The mother recently committed suicide, leaving a small baby behind. It's so incredibly sad. Even though I didn't know her well I knew enough about her issues and that's why I wanted to be supportive and go to the shower. We talked a few times after via email and she said she wanted to have lunch because she didn't have a mother figure in her life. I invited her over, offered to babysit, whatever I could do to help her. She never got around to coming over or agreeing to a date for lunch unfortunately. Then I heard of her passing and was so sad that we didn't, I keep feeling that maybe I could have somehow made a difference, said something that would have made her feel better and not take her own life. She was a really good mom while she was here with her son, she posted pics on FB all the time and talked about how much she loved him. All I can do now is pray for her.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 6:59AM
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Oh, what a sad story. That poor little baby.

Please don't beat yourself up and feel like you could have saved her by having lunch or something. I think that when people take their own lives, it's just that the pain has simply gotten to great to bear. You couldn't have fixed that.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 11:46PM
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A "really good Mom" would stick around and raise her child....

    Bookmark   December 18, 2014 at 2:12PM
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Really judgmental post, Lisa.

When a person gets to the point of suicide, even a good mother will think their child is better off without them. I can't imagine the pain someone is experiencing to make that horrible decision. I believe that nobody could commit suicide if they had even a teensy sliver of hope. Can you imagine a life without hope? I sure can't. Awful.

Karen, when I was in college, someone who wanted to be my friend but who really didn't fit into my busy life at the time (school, work, fiance, wedding planning, enough other friends, etc.) committed suicide. I, too, felt horrible. As if my friendship to her would have made the difference. Rarely, if ever, is one person enough to change the tide if someone is considering such a drastic act. Please console yourself with the knowledge that you did give her some comfort and compassion. I'm sure she treasured that.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2015 at 5:03PM
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