A friend made a really sweet, but kind of awkwardly generous, gesture. How to respond gracefully, while still giving her an out?
(Just as a preface, I have a hangup about receiving gifts and favors-- particularly big ones. They make me feel miserable and guilty, as though it's my fault that the person went to all this expense/trouble, and I get freaked out thinking about just how grateful I'll have to be to make it up to them. So if this seems kind of like a retarded overthinking of what should be a relatively straightforward social situation-- well, guilty as charged.)
So I had a baby last month, and various friends were excited and supportive, including the church choir where I sing. About two weeks after the birth, someone I know from choir approached me and said she'd like to throw a party for the choir at her house in the baby's honor. This was a pretty overwhelmingly generous offer, as the group is large (~25 people), and the woman in question doesn't even know me all that well (we've hung out a bit in the context of other church groups, but never one-on-one, and no conversations beyond small-talk). She's not a wealthy retired socialite or anything, either-- we're talking a super-busy shift-working mom of two, so throwing a party for a huge group of people would likely be a big deal for her in terms of the investment of time and money.
At the time, I thanked her profusely, and probably a bit anxiously, and she closed by asking me to let her know some dates that'd work. Four weeks later, I still haven't been able to bring myself to contact her, largely because I've been unable to figure out answers to the following:
- How can I give her a list of dates without sounding weird and presumptuous (like, "Ahem...the following are some good dates for you to schedule my party")?
- On the off chance that she might since have rethought her initial impulse, is there any way to avoid Abilening by politely giving her an out? I'm especially concerned about this given that lots of people have already met the baby (brought her to rehearsal a couple times) so a debut party at this point might seem a little anti-climactic.
- If the party does happen, is it appropriate for me to offer to pay for anything and/or help with prep, or would that be rude?
- Said party won't end up devolving into some kind of shower, will it? Because the choir already got us a group gift, and OMG uncomfortable.
- Although we haven't broken the news to anyone here yet, we're actually planning on moving out of the area in a few months. Does our secret lame-duck status change matters at all?
- And lastly, regardless of whether this happens, what might be some nice ways to let her know how much I appreciate the really sweet thought?
What's that you say? Why yes, I am kind of a social idiot. Advice from anyone versed in intermediate-level-and-above interpersonal interaction would be much appreciated!!