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What Would You Do?

This story, republished from The Washington Post‘s ‘Miss Manners,’ is making national headlines as a hotly-debated etiquette issue. What are your thoughts? What would you do/have done if it was your daughter?

Miss Manners: Apologize for daughter’s absence at her graduation party

May 29
Dear Miss Manners: For our daughter’s graduation from high school, we planned a small party for her with immediate family and a few neighbors and close friends.My daughter does not like parties, so we asked her the week before to please let us know if she was feeling uncomfortable and we would call it all off, no problem. She said she would be okay with it, and we told her she could just come for a bit to say hi and thank her guests.Day of the party, she leaves the house and doesn’t show up at all, texting her dad that she wasn’t feeling well and wasn’t up to a party.

So now we have 30 people we are apologizing to and feeling extremely embarrassed by her rude behavior. People graciously left monetary gifts, which my daughter didn’t bother to open. On top of it all, her grandparents flew in from out of town, and she was extremely rude to them and didn’t spend any time talking or thanking them for coming.

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?

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.

It seems to Miss Manners that this is the least of your problems, considering that you have a thoroughly rude and callous daughter.

Ordinarily, it is insulting to return presents, but your guests have already been insulted, and are due abject apologies on your daughter’s behalf, if you must write them. You can return the money with the explanation that as your daughter did not participate in the celebration, you are refusing to let her keep any of it.

Miss Manners does not consider you to be free of responsibility for this fiasco. 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.

Here is the link to the full article and comments from The Washington Post:


So… what would you do?


Credits:The Washington Post Logo via The Washington PostVolunteers of America (1925) Photo courtesy of

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