DEAR AMY: A relative was married this summer. The bride was planning the wedding for quite some time, and it was a lavish affair.
The couple are in their late 20s and lived together for a few years before getting married. We went to considerable expense to fly to and stay at a destination resort and provide a gift.
Two months after the wedding, they are divorcing.
Several months have passed. We have neither received a thank-you for the wedding gift nor has the gift been returned. We have not received communication from either person. How do we approach this?
Feeling Defrauded and Disgusted
DEAR DISGUSTED: Etiquette has evolved somewhat regarding wedding gifts. The traditional dictate — that gifts should be returned if the union lasts less than a year — is no longer considered a hard and fast rule.
However, it doesn’t seem right to apply an etiquette template to people who don’t know about etiquette, and are ill-mannered and/or very stressed. This couple have stomped all over every petunia of conventional politeness. They owe all their guests an appropriately sheepish explanation and an acknowledgment of your investment (personal and otherwise) in their union. They should also return the gifts — even though they don’t “have” to.
They will not do any of these things. You should file this episode away.
DEAR AMY: I got a phone for my 14th birthday. With the new phone came lots of rules.
I have a Kik and a Snapchat app and an Instagram account, but my parents decided that they should be able to go through my phone and my social networking accounts. I don’t like this because my friends say things my parents would find inappropriate.
I understand that my parents just mean to keep me safe, especially with cyberbullying around, but I feel this is a violation of my privacy. Your thoughts?
DEAR VIOLATED: Smart parents work with their kids to develop good, positive and healthy social networking habits. You may be much more savvy than your folks about social media apps, but this experience will be a learning experience.
My take is that when friends or social connections behave inappropriately, they should be in trouble with you (not just your parents). Confusion, missed connections, misunderstandings, mild (and not so mild) bullying, gossiping, exclusion, etc., are almost universal experiences when people first explore this exhilarating world of free expression on social media.
Your folks are providing you with “cover.” Occasionally things can spiral out of control. This is when you can respond, truthfully, that your folks are clamping down. The idea is to develop good habits and to be open about your concerns. Your parents are the ones who get to be in charge of your phone — for now. Your loss of privacy is a trade-off you have to accept.
Once they see that you are responsible and safe, they should trust you to manage this on your own.
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