Baby Shower Invite Etiquette?
April 9, 2015 8:09 AM   Subscribe

Received a baby shower invitation from an acquaintance who I would like to turn into a friend. Unsure of how to handle this and other social events.

I met this girl C at a large event in my city that we both volunteered for last year. We were working in different sections, so I did not get to know her as well as I did some of the other gals in the area I was working, but we did chat a few times, it kind of became a running joke that every time she saw me she'd flag me down and ask for a ride across the grounds, etc.

I thought she seemed like someone I'd get along with well, so I added her on Facebook. I sent her a quick message to remind her who I was and she seemed receptive "Aw, hey girl! I figured I knew you from [event]. How have you been?" and we talked a bit about how she likely won't be there this year since she is having a baby around that time.

So this past week, she posted a general invite on her newsfeed mentioning that she wanted to get some people together to go bowling for her birthday, and for people to let her know if they'd like to come along. I sent her a message saying that I knew I didn't know her very well, but that this sounded fun and that if it was open to anyone I would be interested in tagging along, since I am looking to make new friends and everyone I have met from [event] has been wonderful. She said that would be great and it would be fun to have me come.

Now, she has sent me an invitation to an event via Facebook for her baby shower along with about 50 other people. I do not feel like I know her all that well and thought these things were for close friends/family, so do not want to go and feel super awkward, or to just be seen as another gift giver... However, I do want to get to know her better, as well as her social group, as they are the types of people I would like to become friends with and this event we met at is kind of a certain interest based thing in the community that I have been looking forward to getting more involved in to meet people with similar interests.

I feel like taking this opportunity to go to the shower would be another step to getting closer with her, but I also feel a little awkward about the invite since I really do not know her that well yet and am not sure if she was just inviting me to be friendly, or if she really wants me there.

What is appropriate to do in situations like this? Specifically for this baby shower invite, but thoughts on general navigation of turning acquaintances into friends without overstepping boundaries or feeling like I am pushing my way into someone's life would be welcome as well.
posted by Malleable to Society & Culture (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Get the gift, go to the shower, take some deep breaths and talk with the people.

It sounds like you're progressing towards friendship. Let events unfold naturally. Accept invitations that fit your schedule.
posted by RainyJay at 8:14 AM on April 9, 2015 [20 favorites]

If she invited 50 people using a FB invite, it's not intended to be for close friends/family. (Perhaps she's having another one for close friends/family?) I think you should go!
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 8:14 AM on April 9, 2015 [8 favorites]

You're overthinking. She wouldn't have invited you if she didn't want you there. If you want to go, go! Even closer friends of hers won't all know each other.
posted by Kriesa at 8:14 AM on April 9, 2015 [13 favorites]

Is the shower before the bowling? If so, I might pass on the shower and wait to see how you click at a more casual social event.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:15 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I think your read on this is pretty spot-on. Baby showers are kind of awkward, and it won't provide you a ton of time to connect with her one-on-one. But you are right, being there puts you on the path to closer friendship. If I was feeling up to making small talk with her Aunties for a hour or two, I'd probably accept and grin and bear it. If that sounds unbearably draining, I'd decline with a polite fiction, and counter with another offer to hang out, and possibly give her a small baby-related gift then.
posted by fermezporte at 8:15 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think the baby shower is your call. I've been to some showers where I only know the honoree, and I can survive it OK, but I wouldn't call it an AWESOME TIME. I do it for my friend. If you want to skip it, send a little gift, or maybe make a date after where you can bring a little something?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:17 AM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

If you want to be better friends with her, go to the shower--she might not notice if you don't go bowling, but she'll notice if you cared enough to come to the shower. It's as awkward as you let it be.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:22 AM on April 9, 2015 [6 favorites]

The good thing about showers is that even if she doesn't super want you there, at least you brought her a gift.

Realistically, the dichotomy you're worried about doesn't exist. If she feels friendly enough to invite you (and 50! other people), then she wants you there. Don't second guess her good intentions.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:24 AM on April 9, 2015 [5 favorites]

I do think you're overthinking this; if you're invited you have to take that at face value. It won't be weird of you to go; you bring a gift, she's the center of attention, you meet some of her people. That being said, skip the shower if you don't want to go. (To me it sounds like you don't really want to. I wouldn't want to go; doesn't sound like much fun.)

If your real worry is that skipping the shower will derail your friendship, I don't think that'll happen. I'd think she'd be very busy right now; she won't be thinking you dissed her or anything. If you can't make it, you can't make it, as I'm sure many of the 50 won't be able to.

(And if attendance at a baby shower for someone you barely know is a prerequisite for future friendship, sounds like an exhausting, high-maintenance friendship to me but YMMV.)
posted by kapers at 8:28 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: When I invite someone I don't know well to a thing, it's because I got a good vibe from them and think I might like to be friends with them. You can't get to know someone better without doing things with them! She invited you, that means she wants to spend time with you. Take that at face value. Go! Go go go!

(And if attendance at a baby shower for someone you barely know is a prerequisite for future friendship, sounds like an exhausting, high-maintenance friendship to me but YMMV.)

Yeah, it wouldn't be my first choice of a friendship-making event, but if this woman is having a huge baby shower it's probably her first kid and she's probably getting pulled in a billion directions at once, between baby panic and planning, doctor visits, family offering "helpful" advice, plus whatever she does for her regular, non-baby life. All that and she's still reaching out to Malleable to be friends. That's a great sign.
posted by phunniemee at 8:35 AM on April 9, 2015 [6 favorites]

Best answer: If you're invited it's likely she wants to get to know you better too, plus there will probably be others that she knows from the former event that she thinks you will get along with. At worst you waste an afternoon of your time while getting to eat some cake. But you might make some other new friends.

A word of caution - do you have little kids? Because if not, it's really likely that this will be the last time you see this girl for a while (until you get invited to her kids' 1st birthday party). New parents generally severely curtail their social engagements, first to family and close friends for the first few months, and then to people who are cool with working around naptimes, being around a nursing mom, being around a possibly crying child, and people who won't care if you cancel plans at the last minute because the baby woke up with a fever. So be prepared for that possibility and if it comes to pass, do not take it personally. She'll come out of the parent-to-a-newborn fog eventually.

But, like I said, you might meet some other cool people, and if she is one of those people who have the capacity to just fit their newborn into their life-before-kid routine the situation might not be as dire as I described above.

In short, just go.
posted by vignettist at 8:41 AM on April 9, 2015 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Also she sounds very open, friendly and a social butterfly who puts herself out there easily and my guess is she is not the type to scrutinize you as much as you're scrutinizing yourself. By that I mean, accept her invites, be warm and friendly back and things will progress normally. Maybe you are used to smaller closer friend groups and so envision things progressing differently because of your experience. But I have met people like this, I take them at face value and they are decent people and the friendships build up in a slow burn, typically based around large activities like these. Feel free to invite her too whenever you have stuff going on or want to arrange a movie night or whatever. Enjoy!

PS. Yes about the new parent thing, don't take that personally at all.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:51 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you want to be friends with this person, it's likely they have friends that are similar to themselves.

This is:
1) an opportunity to find even more people you could become friends with (and hey you have another friend in common)
2) a chance for you to have something to talk to her about in the future (ie send her a message later to thank her for the invitation, invite her for a coffee/chat/brunch).
posted by like_neon at 9:07 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

Baby showers aren't (and don't have to be) formal things. It's just like a birthday party, but with a very specific gift theme. Get her something nice off her registry (I personally like to get really practical things, like a Nosefrida [seriously, get her one] and medicine droppers and baby nail clippers, plus something cute like socks. Because people always want to get the clothes but tend to overlook the less glamorous items). Endure the awkwardness, but compliment other people on the amazing gifts or desserts they brought. And you should be looking around for other friends too, because new moms are sleep-deprived and not that social for the first few years. So you might have to put your friendship plans on "low simmer" with her until her kid's a little older and she has more time.
posted by emjaybee at 10:33 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

Erm...I would vote against going.

1. if she's a person who invites her 50 Facebook friends to everything by default, that's not exactly a super personal invite. It reminds me of getting a "Save the Date!" e-mail that went out to 250+ people from a former coworker of mine who had moved out of the state. Like, I'm sure she likes me in general, but I don't actually think it's important that I go or that she'd notice me if I did.
2. It would be kind of hard to make a base for a budding friendship from one 50+ people baby shower. You won't get to talk to her much. Sure, you could meet other people, but I don't know how shy you are or how into that you would be. If you're going to be outgoing enough on your own to meet them all, then go for it. If you're going to stand in the corner awkwardly without her introducing you around, then maybe not.
3. She's going to be a new mom soon. Unless you come with a baby of your own, you won't have much in common for the next five years. As an evil childfree woman, I have not been able to maintain friendships with moms before their youngest kid hits age 5--they're too busy and occupied and don't especially want to spend that much time with non-moms they don't have much in common with any more. I don't hate kids, but I just don't have much that appeals to a mom who's knee deep in diapers, understandably.

I think you should just stick to Facebook friending for now, or just keep low expectations about her in general.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:36 PM on April 9, 2015

Sounds like she's a very nice, outgoing person that made a bit of a gaffe by inviting you directly to her own shower. I would take this as her trying to include you with the group of friends from the birthday bowling party.

If you want to go, go! If you don't (and a lot of people don't like baby showers) then skip it. I wouldn't stress about it with 50 people invited via Facebook. Just say you have other plans.

I'm pregnant and have a few showers coming up. There are tons of things on my baby registry that are under $10 that would be totally helpful to get. So if you do go, you don't have to drop bank on this new friend. Just have fun.
posted by Pearl928 at 6:13 PM on April 11, 2015

Response by poster: Just to give an update: The birthday bowling went wonderfully; although she invited quite a few people it ended up just being the two of us, her husband and kid, and one other friend. So it was a great chance to get to chat with her and get to know each other better, and she seemed very excited to have me there and thanked me for coming.

She even suggested we get together for my birthday at the end of the month, and invited me along to another event this weekend (which I was unfortunately unable to attend due to family plans, but I was thrilled about being invited out again so soon)! I think these are very positive signs for being on the road to a great new friendship, and I have decided I will be attending her baby shower.

Thank you for all of your thoughts!
posted by Malleable at 6:18 PM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

« Older American ex-pats (present or former) I need your...   |   It's an illusion, Michael. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.