20-40-60 Etiquette: Right here waiting
QUESTION: I was invited to a $20 gift exchange party. I was told to be there at 2 p.m. I accepted the invitation, and when I arrived on time, no one was home. I waited in the driveway for one hour and decided I must have been mistaken so went back home.
Later I asked what happened and was told, “the other guests and I decided to go to a special restaurant for lunch.” Needless to say, I felt as if I had been slapped in the face.
These are ladies I go to Sunday School class with. How should I have reacted? Of course, I had to forgive but learned who true friends were.
CALLIE'S ANSWER: I hope you were calling people in the group while you waited. That's a long time to wait! My reaction would have been to say, “oh! I would have loved to join you all!” Forgiveness is hard, give them a second chance.
LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: Wow. That was thoughtless and rude. From the way you wrote it, it sounds like the person told you nonchalantly that they wanted to go elsewhere and didn't intend to let you know. If that's the case, you might need to find a different Sunday school group. You also can reach out to other friends who attended that lunch group. Maybe your issue rests only with the host, and they didn't know you had planned to come. Maybe the host forgot you were coming — I hope she apologized profusely, and if that is the case, accept her apology and see what happens the next time. I don't know. If it happens again, next time, I wouldn't wait an hour — or ever. I am sorry you were hurt. I hope it was all an accident or misunderstanding, but if not, I hope you find a more considerate group of Sunday school ladies.
HELEN'S ANSWER: Hopefully the group was appropriately sorry for not notifying you of the change. It was an effort to get the gift and to arrive on time, and I know you were looking forward to social time with your Sunday school class members.
You were very considerate to forgive them for the “mistake,” but, of course, it will be hard to accept an invitation from them in the future.
GUEST'S ANSWER: Jane Jayroe: This was painful to read. Not only did it make me angry with these “friends” who acted so badly, but it also made me remember times when I have been less than I am called to be.
To make this situation even more difficult to understand is the fact that it was a group from your Sunday school class. None of us are perfect, but they invited you, and by attending church together, you profess to share some very core values: to love God and to love others. All of us fall short, but I would say this situation definitely crossed the line.
Assuming they did not apologize in a way that felt sincere, I would leave the group. Don't stick around to have your feelings hurt. These women are definitely not worth your investment of time and energy. Forgive them, because that's what is best for you. But find another Sunday school class and group of friends who are at least trying to grow in their Christian walk.
Callie Athey is 20-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is in her 40s, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email email@example.com.