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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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It’s not proper to hide behind etiquette either

Carolyn Hax The Washington Post

Dear Carolyn: A friend I have known since middle school is expecting her first baby. After talking with a few of our close mutual friends it seems as though the responsibility of her baby shower has been placed in our hands. Her parents live out of state, yet visit often. I have spoken with her mother, and she has mentioned casually if we need any money to let her know; besides that, she is expecting an invitation in the mail with the legwork, planning, and cost taken care of.

I have been to countless showers and to the best of my knowledge I thought that wedding showers were thrown by bridesmaids and baby showers were thrown by mothers or mothers-in-law. I do not want my friend to miss out on her first baby shower, at the same time we are all busy adults with families and jobs and feel as though this is a lot to expect of us. Am I wrong? What is the proper etiquette? – Shower Confusion

It’s not proper etiquette to assume anyone is throwing a party for anyone else. Sounds like the mom’s being awfully pushy.

But I can’t imagine it’s proper etiquette, either, to hide behind etiquette to excuse not rallying for a friend.

It’s her first baby, you’ve been her friend since middle school, you are all “close mutual friends” who have managed to find time for “countless showers” for other people.

If it’s so hard to be happy for her, I can’t help feeling sad.

Pot luck or takeout, BYOB, Jack-and-Jill, no cutesy little games, pitch in for a group gift. (Did I mention no games?) That’s all it takes to tell a new mommy she isn’t in this all alone.

Dear Carolyn: This may seem like an odd question, but if someone doesn’t like an aspect of your personality, how would you know when you’re in the wrong as opposed to someone just not liking that aspect for their own reasons? – New York, N.Y.

Great question. Odd answer:

You’d think it would be a matter of right and wrong. Should you change this aspect of your personality, because it’s somehow bad, or is it good and fine and merely annoying to one person?

But “should” takes a distant third place, to “want to” and “can.” Is this a part of your personality you want to change? If not, then your critic gets to love it or leave it.

And even if you do want to change it, can you? If you’re, say, a worrywart, and your friend/mate/sibling/colleague hates that you’re a worrywart, and you also wish you could stop worrying, then you could probably learn a few techniques to lessen your stress.

But you will never become anything approaching laid-back, and so it would be wrong to keep fighting this aspect of your personality, and wrong for critics to pressure you to.

Your best chance of finding peace with others is to make some peace with yourself, by accepting a less-than-perfect aspect of your personality, making the best use of it, being careful not to take it out on others, using all this as a way to like your less-than-perfect self – and then letting your critics love it or leave it.

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