Judith Martin, also known as Miss Manners, was thoroughly nonplused at the behavior of one young teenage graduate who skipped her own graduation party.
Martin, who has written her popular advice column since 1978, does not mince words in response to one mother that wrote to her for guidance on how to handle the behavior of her daughter. The girl texted her father on the day of the party to say she didn’t feel well and wouldn’t be attending, after 30 of their closest friends and relatives went out of their way to visit, bearing presents.
The mother wrote: “So what do we do with the gifts? Do we send back the checks and cash and thank everyone? Do we keep them and not give them to my daughter directly? Maybe use them for her college expenses?”
She continued: “I feel bad keeping them, but I am not sure if it is just as rude to mail them back. Whatever we do, she will not send thank-you notes, either. I will have to do that.”
Martin responds that the gifts are a small issue, considering the larger problem that she has a “thoroughly rude and callous daughter” and also provides an ample dose of scolding for the mother for her complicity in the act.
“Miss Manners does not consider you to be free of responsibility for this fiasco,” Martin writes. “Leaving aside your duty to teach your daughter manners and consideration for others, there is the question of why you even considered giving a party for someone who hates parties and your willingness to allow guests to make plans that you offered to cancel a week before.”
Yikes. May this be an important reminder for all the current and future mothers out there for how to handle difficult children and party faux pas.