I wasn't invited to my friends' baby shower. Was I snubbed, or is this just the way things are done in Babyshowerland?
August 14, 2012 6:48 AM   Subscribe

I wasn't invited to my friends' baby shower. Was I snubbed, or is this just the way things are done in Babyshowerland? Flurries inside.

I have a friend who is currently pregnant. We have known each other for over ten years, but have become better friends in the last three years or so. We live about 3 hours away from each other (but lived closer in the past). Because of the distance, our visits are usually "weekend visits" in which she and her husband will come visit my fiancee and myself and stay overnight, and vice versa. We have gone on several vacations together, and always have a great time. The two of them are now expecting their first child.

I was at their house last weekend and inadvertently saw an invite for her baby shower. It was for the next weekend! She saw me looking at it and said, "Oh! I, uh, thought you wouldn't be interested in coming. You can come if you want! I completely forgot. It's next weekend, don't feel obligated." In other words, she was obviously flustered and didn't intend for me to either be at her shower or to see the invitation.

Mefites, I'm kind of heartbroken over this. I thought that we were really good friends - certainly the sort of friends that would invite each other to their Big Life Events. I haven't really put together my wedding attendant list, but she was on my mental list to be a bridesmaid. Now I wonder if I completely misread how good of friends we really are.

I tried to talk to her about it, and there was even more backtracking and excuse-making on her part. It was obviously uncomfortable for both of us so when we were interrupted by something (I think the phone rang) the conversation ended and neither of us brought it up again.

My fiancee tried to console me by saying that maybe the shower was family-only, and that's why I wasn't invited. But if that were so, why didn't she just say that instead of backtracking all over the place? Also, he asked my why the heck I want to hang out with a bunch of ladies and coo over onesies and play stupid baby games. Alright, I have to admit that this is not high on my list of how to spend a weekend day. But I would have gone and played stupid baby games for her, because she's my friend and I'm really happy for her.

Well, the shower is a moot point because I can't go anyway, I have plans next weekend that involve non-refundable tickets. I had already started on her baby gift (I'm making something for the baby's room) and plan to continue making it, but feel kind of hollow about it now. Is it weird to craft a handmade gift (involving a lot of time and skill) if I wasn't even invited to the shower?

I've been to showers that are friends-and-family and I've been to work showers. Are family-only showers a thing?

Also, how should I move forward with my friend? Do I try to talk about it with her again, or just let it be? Does it sound like I have a different idea of how good friends we are than she does? I kind of figured that people usually only go on vacations with each other (and house each other at their homes) if they're really good friends.

posted by anonymous to Human Relations (54 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Mothers-to-be don't usually host baby showers, although they do have a say in the invite list. If I had to make a guess, your friend doesn't sound like she's very invested in this shower - lots of moms-to-be don't like cooing over onesies and playing stupid baby games, either.

In other words, she was obviously flustered and didn't intend for me to either be at her shower or to see the invitation.

Or maybe, as she said, she just forgot to give your contact info to whoever is hosting the shower.

I would probably just proceed as if I had been invited informally (which you were) - I would send her an email saying, "Gosh, it turns out I can't make it because of XYZ! I hope you have fun and show me all the baby stuff you got next time I'm in town!"
posted by muddgirl at 6:55 AM on August 14, 2012 [9 favorites]

Try not to take it personally. Family-only showers are a thing, certain-friend-circles-only showers are a thing, local-friend-only showers are a thing. Whoever is hosting probably laid down some guidelines on how many people she could invite (because a hostess' worst nightmare is getting a mile-long list of every person the mommy-to-be has ever met), so she probably went with people in town at the expense of you and others further away. If you don't know the host or any of the other guests, it was probably easier for her to leave you out than somebody more plugged into that circle.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:57 AM on August 14, 2012 [17 favorites]

Seconding the mom's-aren't-always-into-the-shower thing. My best friend had a surprise shower sprung on her, to which I was invited but couldn't attend (but I called mid-way). I called her that night to apologize for having to miss it, and she confessed that she had been secretly miserable the whole time because she was feeling unwell and just wanted to go home and go to sleep. "Also," she said, "there are only so many cute frilly pink things you can unwrap before you really want a drink."

It could be that the shower was for "the family" and the social-obligation friendships, while you are one of the special people who really knows her, knows what she wants for her baby, and understands that she's still going to be her as well as being "mommy".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:59 AM on August 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

In my experience (and please don't jump down my throat, moms of metafilter), some pregnant ladies are absolutely bonkers. Get crazy obsessive about some things, completely forget about others, etc. I've had the pleasure of having pregnant ladies for teachers several times, and there comes a point where completely basic things just escape them, but they can (for instance) tell you exactly what they ate at exactly what time every second for the last three months.

Anyway, I think it's entirely possible that she just forgot to tell whomever's organizing the thing to put you on the invite list, and obviously feels terrible that she forgot about you.

Try not to take it personally. Continue making her baby gift, continue to consider her as a bridesmaid if that's what you would have wanted anyway, and so on. Treat this like it's not a big deal and I think you'll start seeing it as less of a big deal.

tl;dr ask her

Perhaps if you had r, you would have noticed that she already did.
posted by phunniemee at 7:00 AM on August 14, 2012 [18 favorites]

Baby showers really aren't a Big Life Event, having the baby is. It ranks way, way below wedding and birthday on the occasion list, but just above Friday Night drinks.

My guess is a local friend of hers organised it, she gave a list of local invitees. It may have also been a dumping ground for insufferable great aunts and not really something she had framed as a Fun Thing. She wouldn't have wanted you to feel obligated to make the trip for it. There is absolutely nothing weird about giving a beautiful handcrafted gift to the baby.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 7:01 AM on August 14, 2012 [17 favorites]

Take your friend's explanation at face value, and remain friends.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:06 AM on August 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

Its possible that she genuinely didn't think you'd want to come (its a long way there and back just for a baby shower) or for whatever reason she doesn't feel like having overnight guests after her shower which it sounds like you'd have to do because of the distance.
posted by missmagenta at 7:06 AM on August 14, 2012 [9 favorites]

Events like baby showers and bridal showers can be really weird, uncomfortable, and political for the women at the center of them. Often they're organized by relatives or the friends of one's parents, and they can end up feeling like a chore that you're suffering throught to make your mom/sister/aunt happy....which then makes you feel like a huge asshole, because all these nice women came to wish you well and give you gifts! So you should feel grateful! Except mostly you feel like you're twelve again and trying to seem properly thankful for the weird sweater your grandma picked out for you.

When I got married, my bridal shower (which I didn't want at all but my mom insisted on) was held in my mom's town with my mom's friends and NONE of my friends were there. I would have felt terrible subjecting them to it, honestly, even if any of them had been close enough to come!

Which is all to say: there may be some stuff going on with this baby shower that you don't know about, which make it the kind of thing that your friend has conflicted feelings over, and which have lead her to decide that she'd rather not pull you into it. It's very likely that her awkwardness has a lot to do with the stress of navigating family politics, and very little to do with her friendship with you. Of course it would have been better for her to be more upfront with you, but these big life transitions are really crazy-making, and often leave folks without a lot of energy to be at their most tactful or kind.

If I were you, I would try and put this anxiety aside, keep working on your baby present, and hang tight until this flurry of pre-baby activity has blown over. Then just....you know, be there for your friend while she's dealing with her newborn, and see how things play out. In all likelihood, your friendship with settle into a new, post-birth rhythm. And if it doesn't, and your friend decides she needs distance from you for some reason or another, at least you'll have been kind to a new mom going through some stressful times.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:08 AM on August 14, 2012 [24 favorites]

But if that were so, why didn't she just say that instead of backtracking all over the place?
Well, most people don't expect to get hassled about who they did or didn't invite to something, so she might have been at a bit of a loss.

There are plenty of potential positive reasons; she might not have wanted to obligate you to the travel or to a gift, especially if she thinks you'll be travelling when the baby arrives.
posted by ftm at 7:09 AM on August 14, 2012

Some people are funny about mixing groups of friends for one reason or another and this could be an example of that. That said, I would likely take this pretty personally myself.

Maybe check in after a little time has passed for a bit more info without giving her a hard time about it. She's probably been thinking about how everything went down, too, and might like to give a better, more thoughtful answer now that she's had time to think about it more.
posted by smirkyfodder at 7:12 AM on August 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

I think most of the above answers are spot-on. Some local friend organized it--your name and info slipped through the cracks, or your friend did not want to bother you with it. It's not a big snub, even though it feels like one. Personally, I'd let it go and proceed with the friendship as usual.

If you really want to talk it over, then find another time to talk to her about it, when you're both relaxed. Tell her you were surprised how hurt you were to not be invited, but make it about that--your surprise how you felt, not her actions. Let her respond to your feelings. not to an accusation that she slighted you or that the shower organizer snubbed you. If her apology for your hurt feelings is sincere--regardless of the reason you were not invited--then I'd let it go and proceed as usual with the friendship.

My perspective:

My sister was pregnant and she did not want a shower. I--the sister in the traditional role of the person who throws the shower--did not want to throw a shower. My Mom did not want to throw a shower. Her husband didn't care. We told all our closest friends and family there would be no shower. Sister didn't really want one--the three of us (Mom, Sister & Me) think baby showers are really stupid and did not want the hassle of one in the middle of a lot of other things. Anyway, my sister and her husband had planned on a huge welcome baby party later--after the baby was a real thing--not a gift grab, nonalcoholic punch, talk about being pregnant baby shower.

But some of Sister's Husband's family really really really wanted a shower and were horrified that there wasn't one. So they threw it. Some of my sister's friends slipped through the invite crack. I know many of them who got the invites were told "really, it's okay if you don't want to be there." And absolutely no-one who had to travel, even people who just had to come from the suburbs to the city, were invited.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:14 AM on August 14, 2012 [8 favorites]

A whole lot of your friend's friends are going to disappear once the baby shows up. If you're able to deal with the planning and difficulty of maintaining a relationship once the munchkin shows up, things should be very good between you.
posted by bfranklin at 7:14 AM on August 14, 2012 [10 favorites]

I have made major gaffes of forgetting to invite people who I DEARLY love to random events. I am not a party planner, don't like parties where I am the center of attention, and when these things are thrown for me and I'm asked for my input on what I like and who to invite, I get all flustered and like, "Don't care, do it for me, I can't make these decisions gaah!" I also am one of those people who is all neurotic about not wanting to inconvenience my friends. I would be horrified to hear that a friend changed plans they previously had to be at my baby shower, especially if I knew they werent a Baby Person (heck, I'm not even a Baby Person and I have two kids). I just always like people to have an out and not feel obligated. No idea if your friend is likewise neurotic about such things, but my point is that there are a million reasons beside, "We aren't as good friends as I thought" that could be at play here. Don't despair!
posted by takoukla at 7:15 AM on August 14, 2012 [6 favorites]

If you usually stay with her when you visit, my guess is that she didn't want to have to deal with having a guest in the house after also having to deal with the baby shower. Also, do you hang out with her local group of friends or usually just her when you come to visit? If you don't know them well then she could have thought it would be awkward to be thrown into baby shower mode together. Definitely give her the gift but maybe you can have a special day where just the two of you celebrate the baby. Also, I would ask her frankly if she feels comfortable with you staying there for the next several months and whether she'd like you to come up after the baby is born. Maybe you can say no overnights until she is ready for guests.
posted by betsybetsy at 7:15 AM on August 14, 2012 [8 favorites]

Is it weird to craft a handmade gift (involving a lot of time and skill) if I wasn't even invited to the shower?

Not weird at all. In cultures that don't do baby showers, we just give those when the baby is born and it's all good.

It doesn't sound as if you were snubbed, exactly - I think she and/or whoever made the list either forgot you, or assumed you wouldn't want to come. Which could mean that she doesn't think you're quite as close as you do, but it might not mean that. I do think if it was family only or something easily explained, she wouldn't have gotten weird about it. But is it possible there is something else about the guests that you don't fit into (women with kids only? local people only?) that she might think you'd be upset over if you knew?
posted by DestinationUnknown at 7:16 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

To expand on the "thinking you wouldn't want to come" thing - she may have felt that by inviting you, you would feel obligated to come even though its a very long way and probably not something you'd be that in to anyway.

I'm not planning on inviting my aunt and uncle to my wedding - its not intended to be a snub and doesn't mean I don't love them but if I invite them they'll feel obligated to come even if they don't want to. They're elderly, its a long way and they have a disabled son. I really don't want to drive 2 hours there and 2 hours back for a 20 minute ceremony then a restaurant dinner.
posted by missmagenta at 7:17 AM on August 14, 2012

Blow it off. Does she invite you to the house for fun times? Do you have fun times together? If you enjoy her and her husband, and there's no other weirdness, forget it happened.

I had a friend and when she was pregnant, she claimed that her pregnancy ate her brain. Your friend might be having memory issues, or she may have thought, "there's no way my friend Anon wants to travel for 3 hours to sit in my living room with people she doesn't know, watching me open a present of burp cloths."

The best thing for her to have done was to have mentioned this in a call or email, "Hey Anon, you won't believe the bullshit my MIL is pulling. She's planned a shower for me and it's all church ladies and ugly aunts. Sounds positively DIRE! So glad you're coming the week before. I only wish I could drink."

But it didn't happen that way. If everything with your relationship is good, then no need to fret.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:17 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Give the gift. Forget the shower. You don't want to go, you couldn't go even if you did.

Since the advent of Child, my friendship circle got divvied up into Mommy Friends (with whom I can discuss mortifyingly banal things like Tupperware, recipes, laundry and our offspring's poop) and Non-Mommy Friends, who are my closest buddies in the world - they just don't dwell in the trenches of motherhood.

I had work colleagues, family and some breeder acquaintances at my baby shower.

It's possible that you're on her Cool list and it's not that you didn't make the grade to join her babyshower, you overshot it.
posted by kreestar at 7:18 AM on August 14, 2012 [8 favorites]

Firstly, like most people said, she probably didn't organize it. Secondly, if you wanted to go, it would either be an insanely long drive or she would have to put you up, or you would have to get a hotel. All that is a bit much for a baby shower! Thirdly, maybe you are sort of a non-baby friend- if you don't have kids, maybe she talks about more non-kid related stuff with you and doesn't get the sense you would be overly excited re a baby shower. (I am that friend with many of my friends). Fourthly, she probably got flustered bc you were pressing the issue, then she realized maybe you were offended and she probably didn't know what to do.

Like with many wedding/baby things, she kind of did you a favor by letting you off the hook. Driving three hours for a baby shower?? Then either returning that day or getting a hotel? (Bc I doubt she would want to host a visitor on that weekend)- don't you think that's a bit excessive and unnecessary? Once the baby is born, sure of course!!! But now, please, don't be offended, be relieved.
posted by bquarters at 7:18 AM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

As I approach middle age, I've learned that one of the keys to happiness is to try not to judge how people deal with their weddings and the birth of their children: there are far too many complicating factors.
posted by griseus at 7:22 AM on August 14, 2012 [16 favorites]

There are so many reasons why, and I'm sorry she didn't just offer one of them. And there are many reason for why she may have done that, too, but pointless to guess at them.

I doubt you were snubbed. But maybe you were. If she's not able to be open about it at this point, there's little to be gained by trying to puzzle it out with no other clues.

The most open-hearted but self-preserving set of actions you could take would be to finish your gift, give it with love at the first opportunity she gives to visit after baby is born, and after she's settled in with baby, ask her if there's a particular role she'd enjoy and be able to handle at your wedding (I'd recommend a list of low-impact, low-planning but emotionally valuable options to proffer).
posted by batmonkey at 7:23 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

The only reason I can come up with is that you were considered too long-distance to be invited--plus there's the "where are you going to stay" thing, which might be a problem somehow.

But if you find out later that someone from six hours away was invited and came and spent the night, that may be, well...I don't know.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:26 AM on August 14, 2012

Well, the shower is a moot point because I can't go anyway, I have plans next weekend that involve non-refundable tickets.

So why are you feeling snubbed?
posted by Carol Anne at 7:26 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

My friends threw my baby shower but I had a say in who was invited, and I felt weird inviting someone from far away because they would either have to drive 6 hours in one day in order to attend, or send a gift because that's generally what's expected if you can't attend. It felt selfish.
posted by amro at 7:28 AM on August 14, 2012 [8 favorites]

Well, the shower is a moot point because I can't go anyway, I have plans next weekend that involve non-refundable tickets.

So why are you feeling snubbed?

Because the friend probably didn't know that?
posted by amro at 7:29 AM on August 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

Well, the shower is a moot point because I can't go anyway, I have plans next weekend that involve non-refundable tickets.

So why are you feeling snubbed?

Presumably the pregnant friend didn't know Anon wasn't free that day.

(On preview - what amro said.)
posted by DestinationUnknown at 7:30 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have several dear friends whom I love, but who for various reasons (distance, uniqueness of connection) were never integrated with my main circle of day-to-day local friends. There have definitely been times when it would have been better not to invite them to events where it would have been a hassle for them to make the trip, they wouldn't have known anyone else at the event, and I wouldn't have had any one-on-one time with them. If that's the category you're in for your friend, then it's not a lower category, it's kind of a higher one, but it's awkward to explain. That's probably all this is.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:35 AM on August 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

anonymous posted">> But if that were so, why didn't she just say that instead of backtracking all over the place?

Because she was embarrassed. Nthing that the mom-to-be doesn't technically plan her own shower and it's really easy for names to slip through the cracks and that out-of-town friends are often omitted anyway as to not obligate them to travel.
posted by desuetude at 7:40 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

When we had my wife's shower, we were actually much more involved in the planning of the thing than seemed kosher to us (which is pretty common). You're basically inviting people to come to you and bring you presents -- with the muted but very real expectation that if they CAN'T come they still have to send you a gift in the mail. This felt like very strange to us, especially as we've never really liked attending showers ourselves -- and as a result we deliberately didn't invite any of our friends who lived more than a few hours away.

You might have fallen under an arbitrary rubric like that, where your friend's attempt to do the right thing by her long-distance friends ran afoul of your desire to be included...
posted by gerryblog at 7:43 AM on August 14, 2012

Don't rethink your whole friendship over this. If you feel like good friends then you probably are. If you can continue to be a good and present friend when the baby comes (which often involves being more forward about making plans to get together) then make the gift with love, give it in the spirit which it was intended and try to put this all behind you.

I think it really is likely that there is some extenuating circumstances here that were handled less than gracefully. But, a new mom-to-be isn't the most graceful person in all the land. I couldn't believe how scattered my thinking was as my pregnancy was nearing its end. It was like "baby stuff" was occupying about 90% of my brain, leaving precious little real estate to handle normal day-to-day stuff and obligations. It felt ridiculous at the time and even in retrospect. Sadly, one of my closest friends is now no longer so after baby arrived. I'm not sure if I did something wrong or if she just couldn't handle the juggling that was the new me as a mom. If you value this friendship, keep at it. And keep in mind that in the year after baby arrives, she may do all kinds of things that feel like a snub but really are not.
posted by amanda at 7:46 AM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

Is your friend part of a group of local women friends?

If so, you may have been excluded not because of the quality of the friendship, but because you live a few hours away and won't know anyone. Many people see an invitation to this type of thing as an obligation, so asking someone who won't "fit" in is sometimes a drag. Plus, she may not have done the inviting anyways, so to what degree she even planned the thing is debatable.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 7:48 AM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

I agree with the folks who are saying there's probably a political aspect to the whole business that you aren't privy to. The mommy-to-be is the guest of honor, not the organizer, and Boss Shower Providers can be complete bastards about guest lists. One thing to keep firmly in mind, though, is that Moms, especially expecting Moms, can take even minor quibbles very, very personally. I would not recommend raising the subject again until after the baby is born. Well after.
posted by Ys at 7:48 AM on August 14, 2012

A shower invitation is essentially a request for a present. If she knew that you were already making her something, you live hours away, and there is a limited guest list--it may have seemed like more of an imposition on a friend than an invite to a Big Event. You would have had to drive for hours, not been able to stay with her or been really bored by all the things surrounding the shower, and then you would've had to buy another present.

Doesn't sound great when you were already going to see her and you already had a wonderful present planned for her!

If you stay at each other's houses, you are very good friends. Let this one go.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:52 AM on August 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

Also, having had showers, I would have NEVER invited my friend who lives hours away and stays with me when he visits! He would've felt obligated to come and bring present number 2 and he wouldn't have known anyone...plus, we are such good friends that he was planning to visit me in the hospital after I had the baby and stay in town to help for a few days afterward. He really didn't need another party to celebrate the baby and congratulate me, he was going to be right there.

So in that way, we were almost too close for me to invite him to the shower.

Hope that perspective helps.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:56 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

A whole lot of your friend's friends are going to disappear once the baby shows up. If you're able to deal with the planning and difficulty of maintaining a relationship once the munchkin shows up, things should be very good between you.

I, on the other hand, have had several friends drop me once they had kids. I wouldn't take the not invited to the shower as a sign of this (although I'd be hurt, too), but I'd be prepared to take a back seat to this new adventure in her life, and I'd not make extraordinary efforts to maibtain the relationship if this kind of thing happens again.
posted by winna at 8:04 AM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

Just chiming in to confirm all the above interpretations. My furure mother in law is throwing a huge bridal shower for me and I've only invited a couple of my friends. I didn't even invite my closest friends--I invited those most likely to enjoy watching me open gifts for three hours.

I tell people I haven't invited that I'm doing them a favor. I REALLY mean this. Goes doubly for people who have to travel to attend.
posted by murfed13 at 8:44 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Please get over this minor issue of a neglected invitation for a party you didn't have that much interest in for its own sake and couldn't attend anyway! The reason your friend has acted all flustered and back-tracky is she is reacting to you, being judgmental and weird about something that isn't that important.

Others are correct that showers generally get planned/executed by someone else. Probably she didn't actively exclude you but allowed the guest list to pass without you on it, probably justifying it with the thought that you were so far away that it would be an imposition to ask you to drive 3 hours to give her a present. For heaven's sake give your friend the benefit of the doubt (it's what friends do), make your gift and quit overthinking this.
posted by nanojath at 8:51 AM on August 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

I can think of about 98 reasons why an out-of-town person might not have been invited to a baby shower, and only one or two of them are "Because we're not actually very good friends."

When I make up invitation lists for parties, I very often use the list I have on Facebook of friends who live in my city. I might try to include a couple of Facebook holdouts who also live in my city, but it would be fairly unusual for me to think 'Oh, I should invite these people who live out of town' to anything short of a wedding.

I wouldn't invite an out of town friend to something that was going to be super small and casual. I wouldn't invite an out of town friend if it would mean them staying at my house and that was somehow a problem for that weekend (close to when baby was due, didn't want to have to clean (if party is not at her house) or entertain, other people staying with me for shower, etc).

And if I'd simply forgotten, or if I'd excluded my out of town for practical reasons, and they saw the invitation, I'd be pretty embarrassed, and I would cover and backtrack and fumble.

Make your baby gift and put this behind you. Make an effort to be friendly and interested in the baby (without imposing overnight visits on the new mom -- find ways to visit that don't involve staying with her) and continue to be part of her life at a time when it will be difficult for her to maintain her friendships.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:55 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Maybe she didn't even want to have a baby shower but was pressured into having one. I know that we don't really do that in my culture.
posted by CheesesOfNazareth at 9:04 AM on August 14, 2012

Baby showers are mostly pretty local and thrown by and for one "group" at a time -- work friends, fairly integrated social group, etc. Inviting people who live far away to a shower is sort-of awkward because it can seem gift-grabby and they're too small to be a big enough deal to travel for, and too formal to be enough fun to travel for.

Probably it was thrown by a local group of friends inviting just those people in their group, and she didn't want to force you to travel.

My BFF in the whole entire world, who lives 3 hours away, who has been my BFF since I was 14, we were in each others' weddings, she is my son's godmother even though she's Jewish and I'm Catholic, did not invite me to her baby shower because THREE HOURS IS A LONG WAY TO DRIVE FOR A BABY SHOWER, YO.

I didn't think anything of it, I don't really know her local or work friends, and I'd rather have a weekend with us hanging out together instead of fussing through a shower. Probably because you're not deep in the phase where all your friends are having children all the time, this seems like a big deal. But in five years when all your friends are having children all the time, you are going to be like ARGH! Another baby shower invitation! ARGH!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:05 AM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

This is a True Friend. Baby showers are awful. To drive three hours, suffer through one, and then drive home would be worse. She was doing you a favor, and you didn't react the way she expected - which is why she was flustered.
posted by notsnot at 9:11 AM on August 14, 2012 [11 favorites]

The reason your friend has acted all flustered and back-tracky is she is reacting to you, being judgmental and weird about something that isn't that important.

That's really not fair. There's nothing weird about feeling snubbed by a friend. And according to the OP, her friend saw that she had seen the invitation. I'm not sure where judgmental and weird come into this. baby showers may not be important in the grand sceheme of things, but they are a way that our society celebrates the arrival of a child, and yeah, friends are part of those celebrations.

OP, I'd have been sad as well. However, I definitely think the distance factor might have played a role. Also, you didn't say who organized the shower. If it was someone completely out of your common circle, she might have not thought you'd want to come and didn't want to make you feel obligated. If she's the kind of person who isn't all that into showers, anyway, she might have been goaded into having one. There are a few possible explanations that might help temper how you're feeling.

All of this is conjecture, of course, but totally within the realm of possibility. So I would send the present, try to be there for her especially when the baby is here, and see how things go from there. I'm a new mom and after the first flurry of "meet the baby" visits, a lot of my friends dropped off the face of the earth. And while I'm not up for going out a whole lot right now, I definitely wouldn't mind a visit, or a lunch date. Being three hours apart makes that difficult, but it might be possible for you to find ways to be there for her in your own way.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 9:29 AM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

If I were planning the shower, I would totally assume that you didn't want to drive six hours roundtrip just to coo over cutesy onesies and play stupid baby games. I get that you usually stay overnight, but maybe she wasn't prepared to have guests that weekend, and getting a hotel just for a baby shower seems rather ridiculous (unless you're rich, I guess). From my perspective, you dodged a bullet.

I would not give this another moment's thought and I would act like nothing had ever happened. Assume the best of people and don't let your fear of rejection get in the way of a close friendship.
posted by desjardins at 9:38 AM on August 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

I would consider not inviting very good friends who lived not-in-town to my baby shower because I feel awkward about people feeling "forced" to be somewhere/buy a present. I can't say for sure what happened in the case of your friend, but the awkwardness could arise from having specifically not invited you so you wouldn't feel like you had to come or had to give a gift.

In fact, I just made a baby shower list and left off most everyone from out-of-town, but have many friends within 4 hours from me. I invited the ones that I knew wouldn't take it as asking for a gift and genuinely seem to like baby showers, and left off the ones that I knew hate baby showers.

I know it went awkwardly and it's hard to forget about it or not be offended, but it is not necessarily the case that you are not as close as you think.

On preview, I love desjardins's answer.
posted by freezer cake at 9:41 AM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm the type of person that would feel bad making you feel obligated to drive 6 hours roundtrip for a shower -- perhaps she didn't want to put you on the spot? Especially if it was going to be mostly family and you wouldn't know anyone? I don't think it's a big deal, honestly.
posted by Ostara at 9:43 AM on August 14, 2012

Don't be heartbroken about this. There's a number of reasons why you weren't invited that have nothing to do with how strong your friendship is. (Most that I can think of have been listed in the previous answers.) Showers can go all different ways.

I can tell you why she was flustered when you spoke to her about it: pregnancy is truly mentally and emotionally taxing. Two of the things I've had a life-long talent for -- mathematics and intuiting other people's emotional needs -- I became very, very bad at during my pregnancy. So I can imagine in your situation with your friend, she had to both recall why you weren't invited and make you feel better about it at the same time. It's hard to believe, but that's a difficult cognitive trick to pull off during pregnancy. I'm truly grateful to my friends who were understanding of my limitations during my pregnancy, because I had some people in my life who weren't.

I'm sure she feels pretty bad about it. I would not stress her more by having a friendship status conference. Maybe you can mention to her casually that you didn't mean to make her feel uncomfortable about the shower thing, you just want her to know that you're happy and excited for her and you were afraid that maybe she didn't know that. But I think you're fine to just drop the whole thing altogether.

As you can tell from the comments, women get told a lot of things about babies and their effects on relationships. "The new mom is going to dump all her baby-less friends!" "The single women will never call the new mom again after the shower they begrudgingly attended!" Sometimes that is true, but it seems that the worst breaks in friendship come from people who assume one of these things, rather than just going with the flow. I have been frustrated by both types. There are a couple of friends who just flat-out dropped me; when I've reached out to them about getting together, for the types of activities we used to do pre-pregnancy, they decline on the basis of "You're a mom! You're so busy!" (I think they think they are pre-empting the friendship dumping that I will inevitably do?) And there's another woman in my social circle who I had attempted to befriend in prior years, who basically ignored me in response, but as soon as she heard I was pregnant she started acting like we were besties.
posted by stowaway at 9:46 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

You know what would be a great action to take to truly sweep all this under the rug? Offer to come out after the shower but before the baby and help to organize baby clothes and shop for anything still "missing." Odds are, nothing is missing. But she may feel like there's something she needs. Pick up 3 or 4 clear rubbermaid bins, about 30qt size is perfect. Bring tape for labelling and a sharpie. Sort clothes into 3-6, 6-9, 12 mo, etc. Put toys that aren't great for a newborn in with the clothes of that age. Present her with your gift. Eat cake and take a nap. She will love you for that at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months....
posted by amanda at 10:14 AM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

Present her with your gift.

I mean, the one that you're making right now. Not the sorting. You should do that together. ;)
posted by amanda at 10:16 AM on August 14, 2012

I got married this weekend. I got an email from a friend asking why he wasn't invited to the wedding this Monday. When I was setting up the invitations, I managed to forget to invite him. It had nothing to do with our friendship quality, I just screwed up. These things happen. I did, of course, when I realized that I'd forgotten, email him and tell him that I'm an idiot. But your friend may fall on the other side of the Ask vs Tell divide and may not be comfortable sending an email/having a phone conversation like that.

Another option: she may already have people (family is likely) staying over at her house and wouldn't be able to put you up for the night, so she decided not to invite you.
posted by sciencegeek at 10:38 AM on August 14, 2012

Friends who will host you over weekends, come to your house for weekends, and go on vacation with you actually and truly like you and those things are greater indicators of your friendship than this invite, which as noted above, could have many, many mitigating factors.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:30 AM on August 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

As you can tell from the comments, women get told a lot of things about babies and their effects on relationships. "The new mom is going to dump all her baby-less friends!" "The single women will never call the new mom again after the shower they begrudgingly attended!" Sometimes that is true, but it seems that the worst breaks in friendship come from people who assume one of these things, rather than just going with the flow.

Yup. This is very true. Just see how things work out and don't assume that she's dropping you or whatever. She will have a lot going on that doesn't have much to do with her feelings about you, just by necessity, and you will not be included in all of them because you're not the baby's other parent. That is sorta how it goes. Let things slide just a little more than you otherwise would and you will remain close friends.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:16 PM on August 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

I actually would have been hurt, too, OP. I think this is one of those things where you invite people who live far away and then privately email them that they're totally not expected to attend if they don't want to, because it would be crazy to drive that far for a shower, but that you wanted to include them in the invite list, because they're important to you. When people are all, "I didn't think you'd want to come," my reaction is usually, "Well, let ME make the decision about that for myself." (I say that as someone who kind of hates showers AND has perversely thrown a ton of them.)

That being said, I REALLY would not assume the worst here. Dollars to donuts, she thought she was doing you a favor and then when she realized you were hurt, she freaked out.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 12:50 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

When my wife was expecting, she felt burdened by the shower process. She didn't want people to travel in -- and it made her feel TERRIBLE to think about people coming in from out of town to come to her shower. In her mind, we had/have everything a baby could ever need and accepting gifts is disrespectful to those who really need help. She gets it, she gets that it is a celebration for others to share in the joy and gifts can go to charity, but that doesn't stop the maternal hormonal brain from over-thinking.

THUS, she didn't invite people who were not in the same town, even when they were of the BFF variety. She didn't like the feeling of burdening other people and the idea caused her turmoil.

I have seen the same thing in my other friends in the same boat.
posted by LeanGreen at 2:30 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Once, I was invited to a baby shower a 9 hour drive away. I ended up going because it was in a city that I really wanted to visit. I spent all of 2 hours with the mom-to-be (and her friends and family) the whole weekend - the rest of the time she was entertaining her mom and dad and her mother-in-law and father-in-law, who were from out-of-town, or napping.

Of course I 100% expected that and I wasn't peeved at all - the baby shower isn't really for close friends, but rather for the broader community. But I know that some people would not feel so understanding, and in different circumstances I could see myself getting really miffed that I drove all that way to see my good friend for 2 whole hours, and OMG maybe we're not that close of friends since she practically didn't want to spend any time with me, etc. etc. etc. So it's sort of a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't situation for expecting couples.
posted by muddgirl at 4:38 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

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